October 2015 Meeting Minutes

Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers


Meeting Minutes – October, 2015

In President Bob Asheim’s absence, Treasurer Kia Smith called the meeting to order at the Canyon Lake Senior Citizens Center on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, at 6:00 PM.  Approximately 50 people were in attendance.

In response to members’ request at our September meeting, a microphone was made available for tonight’s meeting.


A Treasurer’s report was not given.


  • Tina Mulally reported on the “Made in South Dakota” event she and Dan, Bob Asheim, and Tom Allen participated in on October 10th, 2015, at Main Street Square in Rapid City.  She stated it was well attended, they sold lots of honey, and people were very interested in learning about bees. They encouraged members to take part in it next year.
  • Kia Smith reported on the Western Apicultural Society (WAS) conference she attended in Boulder, Colorado, on October 1-3, 2015. She stated there were 10 presentations a day, great food and beverages which were all prepared with honey, and top speakers from around the United States who provided a wide range of information. Some of her favorite speakers were:
    • Elina Lastro Nino of the University of California at Davis, spoke on her work with queen biology, and working with California beekeepers and growers to develop sustainable approaches to bee management.
    • Jamie Weiss w/ Habitat Heroes, is an organization in Boulder that gives awards to people in the community who create great bee habitats in their yard.
    • Dr. Ron Fessenden of Colorado Springs, talked about the health benefits of honey for the human brain.
    • Dr. Dan Hyder of San Juan College in New Mexico, spoke on floral sources and the health benefits of various nectar sources.
    • Dr. Marla Spivak, who directs the Bee Lab at the University of Minnesota, spoke about mites and other main problems affecting bees. She stated the term “colony collapse disorder” is outmoded. [Her website states that National surveys made since the initial appearance of CCD in 2006 and 2007 have now established that the majority of colonies are dying for many reasons–from the mites, from bad nutrition, from not enough honey, from pesticides, and from the dramatic increase in herbicide use which is killing off sources of food for bees in many locations.
    • Sarah Red Laird–”The Bee Girl” spoke about carrying beekeeping forward to the next generation.
    • Jim Doan is a third generation commercial beekeeper in New York, who talked about “10 Things that Have Changed Beekeeping.”  He referred to neonicotinoid pesticides as “the elephant in the living room.”

Kia said the the new trend is to call ourselves “Backyard Beekeepers” rather than “Hobby Beekeepers.”

She also stated an excellent website is plants.us.gov


  • Jerry Owens alerted club members that the Small Hive Beetle (SHB), was recently observed in two different colonies in an area between Rapid City and Sturgis, so we have another invasive pest to contend with in our hives.

This is the first time the beetle has been observed in our area, as it has been thought that our usual long, cold winters have created a barrier to their moving north. It is unknown how they got here, but were most likely transported with packaged bees and/or by commercial beekeepers who truck their bees to pollinate in other states and then bring them back into South Dakota.

An article on Managing Small Hive Beetles by the University of Arkansas, was made available to members.

Jerry stated the following:

  • If the colony is healthy, the bees should be able to keep them in check.
  • The beetle is easy to see, as they are dark and 1/4” in size.
  • They can be managed organically using vegetable oil traps.
  • If they do infest a hive, the damage is done by larvae who eat the brood, pollen, and honey.  If in large numbers, they ruin the comb and the honey. They also feed off of grease patties!
  • Members are encouraged to check their hives for this pest.

Kia Smith and Tina Mulally addressed members about our Club putting together a conference on Hobby Beekeeping to be held alongside the South Dakota State Beekeepers Convention scheduled to meet in Deadwood on July 7-8, 2016.

Kia and Tina want to work collaboratively with commercial beekeepers so we can address issues that affect both Hobby and Commercial interests, and also get speakers to talk about our view point. They want to bring beekeepers together from a large area, arrange speakers on a variety of topics, have vendors, and provide a setting to network with each other.

This began a lively discussion among club members, which continued into the program.


John Stolle is owner/operator of the Sturgis Honey Company. As a club member as well as a Commercial Beekeeper, he spoke in favor of doing a combined convention with the SD Commercial Beekeepers. He presented his reasons for doing so, and fielded questions from the members.

Some members have experienced defensiveness and mistrust between hobby beekeepers and commercial beekeepers.

Other members expressed bewilderment at taking an antagonistic attitude, as they have found commercial beekeepers to be helpful and interested in the cross-currents that effect bees, and therefore understand both sides of the fence.

Another opinion is that we shouldn’t try to mingle with those who keep bees for a living, as much of the focus in commercial beekeeping comes from academia, not from being out there in a bee yard getting stung.

One of the most important things about hobby beekeeping, is that it continually brings in new people who are not beekeepers.

If we do work on having a convention, we have a lot of knowledge and experience within our own club, like Bob Asheim and others, and we should make use of our own resources.

A motion was made by Lynette Epp of Black Hawk, that our Club have a joint conference with the SD commercial beekeepers in July 2016.  A vote was taken by verbal response, asking who was in favor which seemed to be a majority.

Kia and Tina passed out slips of paper as a survey, for members to indicate in writing if they were in favor of planning a conference in conjunction with the Commercial Beekeepers next year, if they were not in favor, if they preferred to have our own convention, and also asked people to write down topics they would like to see included. The results were:

  • 25 people out of about 45* filled out the slips, indicating
  • 19 yes
  • 3 maybe
  • 3 no

*The approximate count of attendees was 50 at the beginning of the meeting, though some people were not members, and some left during the discussion.

The meeting was adjourned @ 7:40.

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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