May 2018 Meeting Agenda
Date: May 17, 2018
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Location: Hardin County Extension Office
Welcome to both members and guests.
GUEST SPEAKERS: Chris Renfrow- Queen Rearing
Minutes from last meeting by the Secretary.
- The minutes were sent to everyone’s email and was posted to website.
- A copy is available for anyone to review during this meeting
Number in attendance last meeting:
Financial Report presented by the Treasurer
- New/Renewed Memberships:
- April 28th Seminar & School
- Business Report
- Currently the hives are growing in population and many have reached the stage for swarming. The swarming is activated in most cases by the lack of space in the hive for the bees to bring in nectar and pollen and/or the lack of space for the queen to continue laying eggs.
- The bees are actively bring in nectar and pollen because the nectar flow has started. Honey supers must be added on a regular basis
- Some hives will go queen less due to the age or health of the queen or due to swarming.
- Re-queening of hives is a normal this time of year.
- If you haven’t added supers, you need to! Basically, when adding supers always start off with 2 supers and add additional ones well in advance of those first 2 being completely filled. Continue to add supers one at a time until you harvest honey. It is not uncommon for there to be 4 supers on a good productive hive by the time you harvest honey in late June or early July.
Just want to remind folks who are buying bees this time of year of that old adage, “buyer beware.” Nucs should have relatively new equipment (frames should not be broken, woodenware relatively new, wax foundation should not be black). A nuc should have this year’s mated queen and her brood, nice patterns of worker brood, a good population of workers, and no diseases. Typically, there will be four frames with a less-developed fifth frame to give the bees room to work. There are variances to this approach to nucs. Some beekeepers sell 3-frame nucs, for instance, rather than 5-frame. These variances should be communicated to customers well in advance of transaction, and customers should inspect their purchases before leaving the yard (i.e., take your veil).
This "buyer beware" advice applies to packages too. Package bees should have this year’s mated queen, good population of worker bees, and a relatively-full feeder can. If there are a lot of dead bees on the bottom, reconsider buying the package.
Also, Fumigilan-B, a control for nosema, is being taken off the market. Although there are no alternatives at the moment, Project Apis m. and National Honey Board Research has funded a project to innovate another avenue to drug development as treatments for Nosema. The project is led by Dr. Jonathan Snow, at Barnard College, who is approaching Nosema by targeting the molecular pathways unique to microsporidian parasites. Using cage trials, one compound is as effective at killing Nosema as Fumagilin-B, without increased toxicity to bees. Dr. Snow will be consulting with the USDA to determine what could ‘fast track’ this treatment to market, if trials are successful. Stay tuned for news on this front in future Beelines.
Swarm season is well-underway. Stay safe out there.
Tammy Horn Potter, KY State Apiarist
Kentucky Department of Agriculture
109 Corporate Drive Complex
Frankfort, KY 40601
Beekeeping Notes April 2018: these notes are general in nature and are meant to encourage some planning and good hive management. There are many other references on-line with suggested things to do each month; KSBA website and Kentucky State University-Cooperative Extension Program.
March: This spring is off to very warm days followed by windy, cold rainy sometimes snowy days, so the bees are struggling to get going with a start stop weather pattern.
April: “BEWARE OF SWARMING”
- The hives that have made it through the winter and this past March are most probably in good condition and the queens should be laying good patterns. If not then plan to replace those non-productive queens as soon as possible.
- Early in the month continue to feed the hives with 1:1 sugar syrup because it is remaining cold and rainy. Stop the use of pro patties because as it does warm up the small hive beetles love the patties.
- Conduct regular hive inspections every 7 to 10 days weather permitting. It’s a good idea to keep watch for rapidly expanding hives and the possibility for swarming.
- April is a good time to consider making splits from very strong hives for Nuc’s and/or maybe divide strong hives into two equal hives.
- Be sure to check for the queen, the brood pattern, the number of frames of capped brood, eggs, swarm cells and etc.
- Replace poorly productive queens—not laying very many eggs or very poor brood pattern.
- This is also the time to install packages of bees and Nuc’s to start new hives.
- Remember to remove all Varroa Mite treatments before installing any honey supers.
- Consider adding honey supers around mid-month because the nectar flow may have begun.
- Remove all debris/observation boards from screened bottom boards as soon as the day time temperatures are regularly above 60 degrees and the night Temperatures are well above 32 degrees. There is no real hurry and they can stay on longer to be safe.
- Consider removing entrance reducers once the nectar flow starts and especially when you see the bees struggling to get in and out of the hives—traffic jams at the entrances.
- After putting on honey supers, wait a week or so before adding queen excluders, if you use them, so as to allow the bee’s freedom of movement to get started bringing in nectar and pollen to the supers. If you want to add queen excluders, make sure that the queen is not up in the supers. Reversing hive bodies just before adding the supers can help to avoid the queen moving up into the supers and maybe also help to avoid swarming as well.
- Recommend a ground cover or treatment under each hive such as 30# roofing felt/paper of similar material. Also suggest spreading salt on ground around under hive stands to control hive beetles, Varroa mites and other pest. This will only help control -- it is "not a prevention".