November 2015 Meeting Minutes

Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers

Meeting Minutes – November, 2015

President Bob Asheim called the meeting to order at the Canyon Lake Senior Citizens Center on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, at 6:00 PM.  Approximately 51 people were in attendance.

Bob introduced Vice President Susan Nolan, Treasurer Kia Smith, Secretary Jan Snedigar, Librarian Dan Mulally, Program Committee person Tina Mulally, and acknowledged Website Manager Linda Anderson, Facebook Manager Michelle Grosek, and past presidents Tom Allen, Lee Alley, John  McDowell, and Jerry Owens.


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.  In general, most members report they have winterized their hives, though the warmer weather has cut us a lot of slack. Many people are having trouble with wasps, and are noticing the changes in direct sunlight/shade on their hives as we move towards winter.  Some comments were as follows:

  • Bruce Reichert of Box Elder has 3 hives, has put a wind break in place, and plans to wrap the hives in tar paper.
  • Ross and Sue Burden of Hot Springs have 1 hive that is doing okay. For those looking for good Fall bee flowers, Ross recommends purple asters.
  • Tom Allen in Rapid City has 9 hives, but will lose 1 which has no queen. For winter, he has put on insulated boards on three sides, added a moisture block and sugar.
  • Florence Thompson in Caputa has wrapped her hives in bubble wrap with a foam panel on top.
  • Wayne Gibbons of Crawford, Nebraska, is a commercial beekeeper who just sent his 1200 hives to the central valley in California for the winter, where the’ll be when the almond crop blossoms in early Spring.
  • Jon and Lynette Epp of Black Hawk discovered small hive beetles in their 2 colonies. They put in oil traps, and followed that with ‘Check-Mite’, and have not seen anymore, though they think it may be the cold that got them.  They winterized their hives last month, and are hoping to get colonies through the winter for the first time.
  • Tim Moran of Rapid City had 2 hives, but lost one. He hasn’t done an autopsy on it, but thinks it was weakened when he was using a top feeder, and bees were able to get in between it and the inner cover, and he found thousands of dead bees floating in the water.
  • Chuck Hendriss of Dark Canyon had 2 colonies, but one absconded, and the other is doing very well. So far for winterizing, he has put in mite patties and an entrance reducer.
  • Dan and Tina Mulally of Rapid Valley got 365 pounds of honey from 3 hives this year. They have wrapped their hives for winter, with styrofoam on top.
  • Peggy Roberts has 8 hives, some in Hermosa, and some in Newcastle. She has been feeding them with candy boards and sugar water.
  • This is Brian Fenske’s first year with his hive of Italians, and things have gone very well.  He has not winterized yet.
  • Ellen Conroy of Custer has 5 hives, and has decided not to wrap her hives, as she used tar paper last year, and they got too wet, and ended up with black mold.  She always puts up a wind break, however, and in 5 years has never lost a colony.
  • Margot Peterson on Radar Hill, and another member in the Valley each have 2 hives, 1 of Minnesota Hygienics and the other of Italians.  They separately report the same results–that the Minnesota bees have not done well and produced no honey, but the Italians have done great with lots of honey.
  • Lilia Lytle of Custer has 3 colonies, and a friend recently came and winterized her hives, in her words, “put long johns on them.”


Bob Asheim reported on the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) Local Foods Conference he and other members attended on November 6, 2015, at Cadillac Jacks in Deadwood.  Jerry Owens had an impressive table showing all the products he sells, and his talk was well-received.

Bob states we need to have Jerry, Tina Mulally and Tom Allen demonstrate how to set up booths and sell honey, as they are very effective at it.


  • Copies of Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers Club Guidelines were made available to members.
  • President Asheim announced it is time for officer nominations for President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary for 2016.

All nominations need to be submitted to him by December 2, 2015, so he has time to verify with the nominees that if elected, they will serve, and then he will put their names on the ballet.

One vote is allowed per family.

  • Members who are not planning to attend the banquet at our meeting on December 9th, 2015, can vote by e-mail, or can send ballots by regular mail to President Asheim prior to the banquet. Otherwise, turn your ballots in at the door at the banquet.
  •  Election results will be verified by the outgoing officers and announced that night.

For our club Christmas Banquet:

  •      If last name begins with A to M, bring a main dish
  •      If last name begins with N to Z, bring a salad or dessert


Bob Asheim presented tonight’s program on “Honeybee Pests and Diseases.”

He gave a comprehensive and beautifully organized talk, with up-to-date information on pests from man to hive and bee diseases, and tips on how to deal with them.

  • Do not handle horses and then work with your bees, as the smell of horse sweat will make the bees angry and agitated.  (Also, do not eat bananas before working with bees, as they dislike the smell.)
  • Skunks will sit by a hive all night, and the eat the bees as they come out in the morning.  If you raise the hive up about 18” above the ground, the skunk has to raise up to get at the bees, and exposes his/her stomach to stings, and can be driven away.
  • Raccoons are able to remove the hive cover, destroy the frames, and eat brood, bees and honey.  To deal with them, tie the top of the hive down or use weights.
  • Mice:  any opening where a mouse can put its head, it can go through. They will slip into the hive box when the nights first start getting cold, urinate and create a scent trail before the bees un-cluster for the day. On cold days and nights, the female mouse will re-enter the hive, build a nest and raise her young. They will feed on dead or dying bees during this winter confinement. The best treatment is entrance reducers and covering any holes to prevent them from getting in in the first place.
  • Bears:  Since Bob said at our October meeting that small hive beetles are not in this area, and then they showed up a couple of weeks later, he wants it officially on record that he has his concerns about bears!
  • Woodpeckers can do considerable damage pecking holes in the body of the hive.  Similarly tanagers, and blue birds eat bees.
  • Dragonflies are a problem in late summer.  No solution is noted.
  • Yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps all die in late summer, except the new wasp queen. She mates in late summer, and then comes out in the spring. So killing wasps in the spring keeps the population down for the whole summer.
  • Ants can be a serious problem.  Deter them by sprinkling cinnamon, or making an oil trough.
  • Wax moths can be a serious problem with stored brood comb. Protect stored brood by freezing or using moth crystals.
  • Bob stated the small hive beetles recently came into South Dakota by a commercial beekeeper who had had his hives in Texas.  They are able to spread quite a distance, as they can flay much farther than bees can.  They will attack all comb types to eat honey, pollen, larva and pupae.  Strong colonies are the best protection. There are more tips on how to deal with the beetles on the Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers website.
  • Tracheal Mites.  If you look at a picture of honey bee anatomy, you see that bees have 1 artery for their whole body.  If a tracheal mites pierces any part of the artery, the bee can then be exposed to many diseases and environmental stresses. This mites is what kills the bees in the winter: the older bees are most affected, the mites build up and build up, and reduce the life of the bee by 50%.

Tracheal mites multiply rapidly throughout the winter, and other than female mites transferring on the hairs of one bee to another bee, they live out their lives in the trachea. Signs of infestation by tracheal mites, are that bees are unable to fly, have ‘K wing”, and the whole population starts to dwindle. The best treatment is by placing menthol grease patties near the brood, which also kills varroa mites.

  • Varroa mites are the biggest problem when the queen is actively laying and there are lots of brood. The female mite enters the late larval cell just before sealing, then feeds on bee pupa and starts laying eggs. The nymphs hatch and feed on bee pupa, so you can see both mature and young mites on the pupae. Parasitic mite syndrome (PMS) is a condition associated with high varroa infestation. The goal is to cut down the mite’s ability to live and breed, not by doing just one thing, but by MULTIPLE APPROACHES. There are three viruses related to mite infestations which are found in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), including bee paralysis (the bees become   hairless and ‘greasy’ looking, and have deformed wings.
  • American Foul Brood is caused by a spore forming bacterium. Signs are “ropey” strings of the infected bee larvae, and the melted larvae stick hard to the cell. This must be reported to the State, the colony destroyed, and all equipment and hardware destroyed by burning.
  • European Foul Brood is less serious, usually appears in spring and early summer, but can be treated with terramycin and normally goes away as the bees clean up the hive.
  • Chalk Brood is a fungus which forms spores. Treatment is re-queening and positioning hive in a sunny location.
  • There are two kinds of Nosema: Nosema apis and Nosema cerana, which is more deadly.  The main symptom is fecal spotting on the outside of the hive. The best treated is with Fumagilin-B in spring and fall. The only true way to tell is to send a sample to a laboratory.

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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