September 2010

Ken Fielding (President) started the meeting at: 7:03 P.M.

Announcements:
Next month's meeting we'll have Velbert Williams from Heavener, OK for the Fall program and he'll talk about queen rearing.
Pat Hale and Dan Krotzer brought the drinks and the treats and we thank them very much.

New folks tonight:  
Kevin Young is new here but not new to beekeeping.
Russ Bonniker is new here, too.

Program: Hive beetles
We were fortunate enough to have John Seaborn (whom we got packages from this past spring) (Vice President) of Wolf Creek Apiaries and Trevor Qualls (Board Member) of Bon Aqua Springs Apiaries, both from the Nashville Area Beekeepers' Association tonight. John gave us his background in beekeeping. He urged us to listen to our elders because they are common sense beekeepers.  He told us some tricks that he learned like flipping the frames over to brush the bees so they're getting brushed out the right way.  He's fighting hive beetles and has learned to deal with them by keeping a strong bee population and keeping traps in the hives. Hive beetles stop producing at 50 degrees but after 60 degrees they start reproducing like crazy.  He keeps a lot of lime dust under his hives and that will help keep moisture down, which discourages the beetles from reproducing. He knows people who put plastic mylar sheets under the hives so the beetles get picked off by the birds.  Trevor talked a little more about hive beetles, and in particular, traps. He says hive beetle protection requires a lot of different techniques. He is against chemicals because the beetles just learn to avoid the chemicals. They use diatomaceous earth around the hives to start the battle.  There's a particular kind of de and you need to use "feed grade" around the hives. We can get it here at Nitron in Lincoln.  Another thing they do is cut the plastic cardboard political signs and put some boric acid in the holes and fill ends with Crisco, put the plastic pieces secure in the back of the bottom board. It will catch the beetles.  They also use trays below the screened bottom board. Some people use oil, but they use de and lime dust, 1/4 inch in tray and slide it in early Spring and it'll catch many of the beetles.  Beetles will winter over in some places if it doesn't get too cold. But they like pumpkin patches, so turn them under and plant winter wheat to avoid a hospitable home for them.  They also put small traps on the frames 1 3/8 inch by 2 7/8 inch long and space them on top of topbars. The traps will last 2-3 months depends on infection rate.  They eat the boric acid once they're caught in the traps by the bees. Beetles will hunt out weak hives and will supposedly fly from far places to find a good place to attack.  Other types of traps that they both have used are 'Better Beetle Blaster' with 1/4 inch lime dust or de, which helps congregate the beetles on one side and then you attack the other side when you open the box!  After about 14-18 days, the traps don't seem to work anymore, so they empty them out and put more new lime dust or de in them.  They've also used the AJ beetle eater but those come apart easily so you have to twist the ends together with bread ties.  Beetle jails are good, too.  Beetles often move into hive top feeders and they have hive beetle traps built into the back of the top feeders.  They don't like oil as traps because it's messy.  They also staple the plastic political board traps in the inner cover as well! They are well prepared!!

They brought tons of equipment to show us and entertained us with random facts and tricks:

They are 8 frame beekeepers. They say that bees naturally work in an 8-frame sized space. They use narrower boxes and all the same boxes, no deeps. Just 8 frame mediums.  The mediums are better for bad backs.

They use screened inner covers in the summer that lifts the outer cover up and gives the bees plenty of air circulation.

They bobby pin foundation into frames without wiring and still use a radial extractor without any significant blow outs. Also the urge to rotate the wax out every 2-3 years because even if you're not using chemicals on your lawn you don't know what you're neighbor is using!

Nice trick, put dead queens in alcohol and use them as swarm lures (preferably downwind of your neighbors' hives.....ha!).

They don't mix their honey supers. They use 3 gallon buckets and extract one super at a time.  They've had kudzu honey that tastes something like grapes!  They think each super is unique and your customers will appreciate the subtle differences between jars representing different supers.

Ground cinnamon can be used to deflect black ants from the inner cover. DON'T MIX IT INTO YOUR SUGAR SYRUP!!!  Find the ant rail and mix sweet and low, sugar, and boric acid and make a cone with hardware cloth in tee-pee fashion over the trail so bees can't get in and the ants will bring the acid back to their next and that will kill their queen.  

In the garden, DON'T use Sevin Dust - it's deadly to bees. Use the food grade diatomaceous earth for everything!!!

They use a mixture of sugar (not powdered because some has cornstarch) and garlic powder (3:1) blended up in the food processor the same as we've heard of using just powdered sugar to dust over top bars and foam paintbrush or bee brush the powder down in between the frames and that breaks the suction cup feet of the mites as well as gets the bees to clean themselves.  Garlic is antibacterial and anti fungal so it augments the basic powdered sugar treatment.

They use lemongrass with their sugar water to mimic nectar taste to stimulate the bees in the spring.  The addition of oils helps the sugar water from going rancid.  It should be on their handouts, which were sent around the meeting and will hopefully be linked on the website at some point.  Mark Eaton warned that the feed stimulant needs to be done in Spring only so that no other bees will smell it and rob everything out of it.

They've got a great feeder system using Lowe's 5 gallon jugs with Home Depot lids (because of the rubber o-ring gaskets), drills holes in the support webbing around the bucket and fill the webbing with gravel and set these feed jugs away from the hives and feed your bees en masse!

Plastic top feeders sweat on the bottom, they use wooden bottomed top feeders that don't sweat - good idea.

Feed after 6pm and they're less likely to get robbed - only give them sugar water that they can eat overnight.

Meeting adjourned at: 8:40 P.M.

THANK YOU SO MUCH TO JOHN AND TREVOR FOR SUCH GREAT IDEAS AND INFORMATION and for allowing us to put this all on the website to share!!!

Approximate number of attendees: 85

Questions? Comments?  Email Ken (President) at gospecialk@yahoo.com, Mel (Sec-Treas) at mel@nwabeekeepers.com,  Jim (all around great guy) at nopcme@att.net, Jerry (webmaster) at jerry@nwabeekeepers.com.

DISCLAIMER: Mel types these notes at the meeting and therefore, there may be tons of typos. This document IS editable, so if you find gross errors, please let her know.
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