Northwest Arkansas Beekeepers Association
July Meeting 2014
14 July, 2014
Club President: Tom Nichols
Vice President: Mark Eaton
Treasurer: Nancy Kahanak
Secretary: Brad Keck
"Unique among all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves the environment and preys not on any other species."
~ Royden Brown
We all know that each beekeeper will have their own techniques, but we are sometimes treated to the wisdom of seasoned beekeepers. Tom Nichols, David Cheek, and Jim Picket were kind enough to treat us to their vast knowledge of extracting and bottling honey. Working with bees can be sweet but things do get sticky, so we can all use some sage advice.
One thing that all of the learned minds were able to agree on is that this is an indoor activity. Bees, wasps, and any number of other flying insects will find you. If you choose to extract honey out of doors or with the window open, you do so at your own risk. This will result in one of those epic stories that you can tell for the rest of your life. The following is a few highlights from the rest of the meeting.
· Removing Bees from the supers prior to extraction. Smoking, fume boards, escape boards, and the leaf blower method were all discussed. All agree, get the bees out and place the super in a plastic bag until ready for un-capping.
· Un-capped honey has higher then acceptable moisture content. This moisture content can lead to accidental mead making.
· Use a heat knife and scratcher to uncap the frames. Each had their own equipment on hand. Jim Picket had the most impressively engineered equipment.
· Discussion of different types of extractors radial vs. tangential. Start slow and be careful not to damage frames.
· Once the honey has been extracted, you have some options. Leave the frames outside and the bees will clean them up. Just remember that this not should be placed too close to the house prior to the arrival of guests. Supers can be placed back on the hive for cleanup. Supers can be placed in a plastic bag with Moth crystals to prevent hive moth damage. If you use this method, be sure to use the products with the active ingredient Paradichlorobenzene. Other products can kill bees. Be sure to air out the supers prior to placing them on a hive.
· Now is the time to look out for mites and beetles.
At the start of the meeting we had 52 people in attendance.
FEED THE BEES: Anise Hyssop (Agastache) is a perennial plant in the mint family. This plant is native to much of north-central and northern North America. It is tolerant of deer and drought, and also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies making it an attractive selection for gardeners. This species grows from 2 to 4 feet tall, in a clump-like, upright shape, with flowers appearing in showy verticillasters. The plant blooms in June to September with bright lavender flowers that become more colorful near the tip. Anise hyssop was used medicinally by Native Americans for cough, fevers, wounds, and diarrhea. The soft, anise-scented leaves are used as a seasoning, as a tea, in potpourri, and can be crumbled in salad. The purple flower spike is favored by bees that make a light fragrant honey from the nectar.