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June 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers AssociationWell the nectar flow began in late April and early May and now starting to slow down in June. The days are getting longer and the bees are flying later into the day up until sundown. Everyone should have placed supers on all mature hives and be adding more as those started to fill up. Need to be checking the hives at least once a week to make sure that the queen has room to lay—may need to rotate frames in the brood box or add new frames with drawn foundation. Frame management in both the brood boxes and the honey supers is very important. It’s also the time when the Varroa mites will start increasing.  If you have honey supers on, you are very limited in treatment options. Pulling and inspecting drone larvae is a good way to check for Varroa mites. But there is no substitute for sampling (alcohol or powdered sugar method) for mites. Allow for adequate ventilation of the hives. Also watch out for those hive beetles moving in. Be proactive and take action to keep them under control. The use of Swiffer no-scent pads laid on the top of the frames in the top boxes can help as well as various types of beetle traps. There are a lot of folks starting to harvest honey early this year. By replacing supers with the cleaned extracted frames back on the hives is a good way to keep the bees stimulated during the latter part of the nectar flow. Sometimes they will immediately start refilling those frames. Some hives may go queen less and it may be necessary to re-queen a hive. There are ways to do this without too much disruption—such as the use of a 3 to 5 frame Nuc with a new queen transitioned into the hive—only takes about 3 or 4 days and the hive is fully back in operation. Some use direct introduction of queens into a queen less hive. All queen cells of any kind need to be removed when re-queening. If the queen has moved up into the supers and have laid eggs and there’s larvae, you have a couple of options.  One is to move those frames with eggs and larvae to the outside of the super and replace with frames full of nectar and honey. You can also move the queen back down and put on a queen excluder. She will need area to lay, several frames with drawn comb will need to be provided.

April 2019 Meeting Notes

April 11, 2019 Minutes


30 people attended.  Potluck theme was sandwiches.

Association President, David Shockey, called the meeting to order at 7:07 pm.  He welcomed Chris Renfrow, KSBA President to the association.

No guest speaker or program for this meeting.

Summary of minutes from March 14, 2019 meeting was sent out via email.  

Financial Report:

Phyllis Lonneman reported $880.  Treasurer was given $1205 during the meeting from the bee seminar.

Committee Reports:

Please remit your 2019 membership dues if not done so already, email was sent out as a reminder.

KSBA business – KSBA will have two booths at the State Fair this year to generate more income and introduce more people to beekeeping.  They are still working on the statewide mentoring program that will standardize practices and assist in the criteria for distribution of funds from the state.  Still working on more fidelity and guidance for the certified honey program. Rick LeMarr is rebuilding the antiquated KSBA website to make it more practical and user friendly.

Old Business:

Beekeeping Mentoring Program (closed - ongoing) – the mentorship program still have slots open but only in the afternoon session, 1pm – 4pm; please contact David Shockey if you are interested

Facebook (closed – ongoing) – Ritchie is the lead for facebook and will update as necessary

New Business:

Plant Fair – we would need volunteers for the upcoming Plant Fair, May 18, 2019 at the new extension office site; we will sign up at the next meeting for volunteers

Open Discussion:

Lots of options for queens are available within Kentucky; nucs, packages are available but selling out fast.  Don’t purchase scrawny looking queen bees; probably have not mated.

Swarms are starting to happen; several calls already so get those swarm traps up.  A good time for bees to swarm is after an extended period of rain.

Good rule of thumb is to take out your boards (corrugated plastic) from the bottom of your screened bottom board on derby day.

Lots of pollen and nectar but still continue to provide sugar water.  If the bees are not drinking the sugar water, need to figure out what’s wrong.  Bees will not take any pollen substitute, as there is enough pollen in the area.

Having a frame that’s full of pollen is just as bad as having a frame full of honey in the brood chamber.  

Pot Luck – Madison Henry stated that next meeting’s pot luck theme will be your favorite dish

Meeting Adjourned:  8:04 pm

May 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers Association

  • 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 should be added on a regular basis
  • Some hives may go queen less due to the age or health of the queen or due to swarming.
  • Re-queening of hives is normal this time of year.
  • If you haven’t added supers, you need to on all well-developed hives! Basically, when adding supers it is recommended to 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.
  • Very productive queens will venture up into the supers and start laying. To prevent this from happing, you can use a queen excluder or gain the knowledge of brood frame management within the supers. This is not a simple function and requires a degree of due diligence on a regular basis.
  • Hive beetles are on the increase so try to control them. There are various options available.
  • Be sure to sample and test for Varroa Mites and treat as may be appropriate. Reference the Honey Bee Health Coalition website for more information.