October 2010

Meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by Jim Pickett.

New people picked on: Jerry Schroeder(sp?) doesn't have bees but is interested.  Another new-bee just got bees THIS MORNING!!!!

Thanks so much to the Canfield's and the Sticht's for bringing yummie treats and drinks. It is VERY appreciated!!

There'll be a special talk called "Native Bees Are Declining, The Search for the Causes" this Thursday, 14 October at 7:30 PM in Old Main, Floor 2, Giffels Auditorium.

New beekeepers should go to our classes in January and advanced beekeepers should go to the advanced classes in May. Stay tuned for dates.

Our guest speaker was Mr. Velbert Williams from Heavener, OK, and he gave a talk on queen rearing.  He's been raising queens for 25 years off and on and for others for 5-6 years.  He thinks raising queens is easier than pulling supers!  He uses different-sized nuc boxes (none of them are 5-framed typical nucs).  He starts with a breeder queen and puts her in a small hive (usually a box with 1/2 length deep frames). Breeder queens are ones that have been selected for certain desired traits.  He grafts larva from her eggs into queen cups and the queen cup frame goes into a queenless hive.  The queens are completely partitioned into parts of a deep and kept in by queen excluders.  He talked of 4 different types of cell builders (colonies of bees that will feed those grafted larva). Finisher is for sealed brood. The Starter/finisher is the one he thought is the best for beginners. 5 frame starter/finisher: pick a strong hive with lots of young nurse bees (shook in from a brood chamber of a strong colony). Reduce size in volume to a 5 frame nuc, rearrange frames like this:  honey frame, pollen frame, graft frame, sealed brood with pollen and honey, half drawn comb.  Use in 5 frame nuc 9 frame, or double place in center.  When the cells are sealed, they go into a finisher (I think) and the finisher needs to be arranged in a way above a strong colony so that the nurse bees from below get called up to take care of the cells (do it by putting a frame of young larva in next to the grafting frame).  There are all kinds of schedules you have to keep and planning to do to make this all successful. After all the timing magic is done and the queens hatch, 5-7 days after they hatch they're ready to mate and then will lay eggs in 3-4 days. Each queen will mate with 10-20 drones in her mating flight. The sperm will be stored in her spermathica.  Interesting fact: Velbert uses unwaxed plasticell because the wax foundation that is bought ALWAYS has chemicals in it because the chemicals persist through the wax no matter how old it is.  Most of his queens have been Russian. He's seen little disease. They have to settle in and may not be productive at first, but have really gotten a lot better. He doesn't use Apistan anymore.

I must apologize for the shoddy report of Velbert's talk, I was a bit lost as I know nothing at all about queen rearing. He gave a whole lot more good info than what I was able to share here. Check out his info here.

About 75 people were in attendance at this meeting. This is 50% more than were at the State Beekeepers' Meeting!!! Wahoo NWA Beekeepers!!