Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers
June 2016 Meeting Minutes
The monthly meeting of the Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers met on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, at the Game, Fish, & Parks Outdoor Campus. The meeting was called to order by President Kia Smith at 6:03 PM. Vice President Michelle Grosek and Secretary Lynette Epp were absent. Treasurer Jan Snedigar took Minutes as requested by the President. There were @35 people in attendance.
A Treasurer’s Report was not requested.
Members around the room reported on the status of their bees. Members report there has been a lot of swarming this Spring, including in the last few days which is somewhat later than usual. It has been a boon for some, as several members have ended up with three or four additional colonies.
After several members reported that the nucs installed last month do not seem to be expanding very quickly, Jerry Owens stated this seems to be a common occurrence this year. He thinks it is because of the dry conditions and a lack of food, so the bees get more conservative in order to be able to feed the bees already in the colony. Tom Repas stated that the bees will even eat the larvae as a source of food when conditions are unfavorable for foraging. A member heard that many farmers are already anticipating crop failure with alfalfa because of no rain, which is also affecting wild flowers. Most people agreed that while there is a lot of dames rocket in bloom, the bees don’t seem interested in it. There was much discussion about whether we should be feeding the bees if there is not enough food out there for them, but not wanting to discourage them from foraging. The best thing is to check your hives and see how their stores of honey, nectar and pollen look, and decide accordingly.
There was no old business.
Kia Smith and Jerry Owens reported that they were interviewed by KOTA News about bees, and Tom Allen was interviewed by KNBN for a botanical garden segment on bees which will air the last Monday in June. He said he talked mostly about mites.
Kia reported that the Club was contacted by the Sturgis BAM (Bicycles, Art & Music) Festival which will be on July 9, 2016 in the Sturgis city park. Contact Kia Smith if you are interested in joining other club members to put a booth together for that.
In August, the Club will not be able to meet at the Outdoor Campus, so Kia suggested meeting either at her home in Piedmont, or at the Firehouse Restaurant in downtown Rapid City. The program that month will be Tom Repas, who will talk about and have samples of his prize-winning mead. A majority of members liked the idea of having it at Kia’s home. To avoid the Sturgis rally, the meeting will not be on the second Wednesday, but on Friday, August 19, 2016. Kia will have more information about it at our July meeting, and will send out emails with directions when its closer to the time. She plans to invite the Whitewood Bee Club to join us. That meeting will also be a potluck.
Kia informed the club, that one of our members, Ken Martin, passed away suddenly a couple of weeks ago from heart attack.
Tonight’s Program was two presentations: Jerry Owens talked about Mosquito Spraying by the city and protecting our bees, and Bob Roberts demonstrated the half-size brood boxes he is building for nucs.
Jerry Owens talked about mosquito spraying for West Nile Virus done by the city of Rapid City, and his efforts meeting with them to come up with a plan to protect our bees from the toxic spray. The chemical the city uses now when they do the fogging at night is extremely toxic to bees if it gets on the hive, and the spray floats on the top of any standing water. The city wants to work with us, and is considering Jerry’s suggestion to switch to a spray called Altosid, which is not toxic to bees. But for now, the city has agreed on a plan that they will let Jerry know when and where they are going to use the fogging spray (they always do it after dark). Going by our list of Club Members, Jerry will contact all beekeepers who live within six blocks of the target area. If you are in the target area, you must cover your hives after sundown, and cover any standing water sources until the next morning.
The second talk was by Bob Roberts, who brought samples of the nuc boxes he has been building as a way to provide a more manageable hive space both for the bees and for the beekeeper. They are 1/2 the size of a regular brood box, but fit side-by-side in the same area, so the regular hive top fits over both of them. He attaches screening to the bottom of each box, so a separate bottom board isn’t needed. On each box he cuts an entrance hole in one end and one side, covered by a purchased steel entrance disc (sold thru Mann Lake or at Runnings for a few bucks). Each deep then becomes a double 4-frame start up colony. The main benefit for the bees is that they stay real strong in them through the winter, as the bees in both sides cluster to the center and keep each other warm, and they stay closer to stored food. It’s easier for the beekeeper because they are lighter to lift than the full 9-10 frame deep, and since the bees are already in two colonies, it’s much easier if you want to make splits to increase stock. Bob also has made a wooden insert that can be put into a regular brood box to divide it in half, which similarly creates two 4-frame nuc spaces for the bees. It’s a faster way to convert the deep boxes you already have, ’tho it doesn’t have the advantage of being lighter to lift. Right now, he has his double-nuc boxes stacked three deep with his bees. He recommends the book, Increase Essentials by Lawrence John Connor.
Questions, answers, and lively discussion continued until well after 8:00 pm.
Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, at the Game, Fish & Parks Outdoor Campus. Social time is at 5:30, regular meeting at 6:00.
The time of adjournment was not recorded.
Submitted by Jan Snedigar, Secretary pro tem.