April 2019

NWA Beekeepers Meeting Minutes for 2019, April 8


Attendance:  58


2019 dues can be paid to David Bercaw club treasurer.  They are $15 for single or $20 for a single.


Brad Keck open the meeting.


Apprenticeship Program application for 2019 is available online nwabeekeepers.com  The program includes bees, a mentor and beekeeping equipment.


Topic:  Packages and Splits by Earl Rowe


  • Bees are not like domesticated animals.  Bees leave when they want to not when you want them to stay or go.


  • Getting a package of bees or a Nuc of bees.  A Nuc “nucleus” comes in a box with four or five frames of brood.


  • Location is important to plan for. You can move bees 3 feet or more than a mile.  Don’t set bees on your front porch and then move them later.  They will return to your front porch!  A package of bees comes in a screened in wooden frame box.  This is usually 3lbs.  The queen is inside a queen cage about 2 inches long.  The bees orient to a queen’s particular pheromone.  A package may come with unrelated bees.  It is very good to purchase queens that are marked with a paint mark so you can find them and know how old they are.  Let the post master know you have ordered bees.  The PO will call you.  Don’t transport bees in truck of a car.  Don’t swat bees.  When you get home mist the bees with a gentle water and put the package in a cool place.   Don’t rub the screen on a package because you will break the bee’s legs.  It is good to cut out the old wax off of the foundation periodically.  If the wax gets dark it is probably a good time to clean it off and let the bees draw out some new honeycomb.  After you cut the old wax off, you can put it in a solar melter and melt it.  It does help if you paint on a little wax on plastic foundation to get started drying the comb out.
  • You will need a hive tool.  You will get sticky and gummy.   Installing a package.  Open hive and pull out a deep frame.  Spray bees with some sugar water.  You do this to keep bees clam.  Knock the bees to bottom of package.  Pull queen cage out of package.  Shake bees out into the hive.  Be sure you don’t put queen cage in sun.  She will die.  Place queen cage with opening hole up.  That way the if the attendant bees die the queen can still get out.  Wedge queen cage onto top of one of the middle frames.
  • Place the inner cover on top of hive.  Place package in from hive with top at an angle so bees can climb up out of the package and into the hive.
  • A bee typically lives about three weeks:  19-21 days.  Your bee population will decrease before the new brood hatches.  Cap brood is a good sign.  
  • You should feed your bees during drawing wax out phase.  It takes a  lot of energy to draw out comb.   See beesource.com for a good web site for finding plans for building your own hive bodies and components.
  • It is cheaper to buy frames than it is to build them.   Package bees have no comb or family.


Nuc of Bees

  • When you buy a Nuc what you are getting is really a small colony.  It will include a couple frames of brood the frame may be mixed with honey and pollen.  A couple frames of honey and a frame of pollen.
  • A queen can last several years …four or five years.  A Nuc is a working hive.  You pull out the same number of frames out of your hive box as you put Nuc frames into the hive box.  It helps if all your frames are the same size so you can interchange them in different boxes.
  • Take out six frames if you are putting in five so there is enough room to get the bees in with out any problems.  Then add in the last sixth frame.
  • Place an entrance reducer in the bottom of the hive to help protect the hive from robber bees.  A Nuc will usually grow immediately .  When you have seven out of ten frames full of bees add another box on top.  


Splits

  • If you see queen cell make a split.  A queen cell looks like a queen cell hanging off the bottom.  Walk away split is when a beekeeper takes half of the frames with queen cells in one box and half with each type of frames honey, little brood,…etc.  Leave cap brood in parent box.  You have to give them room to grow.  Field bees will return to the parent hive.  Nurse bees will stay in the Nuc.
  • If you do it in spring time you are OK.  You will not get much honey the first year.  If you split the hive later in the year you will need to feed the bees.
  • A queen less hive tends to be more aggressive.


  • Honey Bee Democracy is a good book on bees and beekeeping.
  • A Queen’s life cycle is 16 days in egg.  Four of five days in her breeding flight.  Then she returns to the hive.  The queen will lay eggs and produce a pheromone for the colony for the rest of her life.
  • If you have a little brood then the queen is going strong.  If you have capped brood but no little white brood then the queen has left.
  • A queen excluder in a cage that prevents the queen from going up into the honey supers and laying eggs in the honey.
  • Rule of thumb:  A hive will need a box of honey to make it though the winter.
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