June 2013

The June 2013 Meeting of the Northwest Arkansas BeeKeepers club met on 10 June 2013 at the Washington County Agrilcultural Extension office on the University of Arkansas Campus.

Present for the meeting were:

President: Tom Nicholls

Vice President: Mark Eaton

Treasurer: Nancy Kahanak

Secretary: Victor Mathis

Several guests were present for the meeting along with several new members. The general opinion among members was expressed that with the recent rains this spring everyone should experience a bumper crop of honey.

The Guest speaker for the nights meeting was Steve Aust, a club member, who is a commercial Queen Raiser, owner of the Kessler Mountain Bee Farm in South Fayetteville. Steve started out raising queens in an attempt to save money and moved into that effort instead of honey because of its appeal.

Traits that Steve looks for with queens are Productivity, Hardiness, and Gentle Behavior. Each of these main characteristics had additional factors from VSH Hygienic, tolerance from disease, and high productivity. Steve's presentation went into detail as to what causes a colony to produce queens. The identified two starter methods for a hive to produce queens are to move an excessive number of bees in a smaller box with NO queen causing the bees to "make" queen(s) and harvest them, and the other system is to place a queen in a bottom box with bees in the top...causing the top bees to produce queens. Steve called this last system the "Cloak Board" system.

CRITICAL during both of these methods is the recommendation of the TIME LINE from the beginning of a Queen Cell until they emerge some 21 days later, then allowing for mating flights and checking for egg laying. Day 27 is the check date for egg laying. Steve identified that these time lines are subject to weather conditions such as temperature and wind.

Steve uses a system that grafts the larva into plastic cups which have a small amount of royal jelly. The queen larva will of course eat the royal jelly making them a queen. Steve demonstrated all of the specialized tools that he uses to graft queen larva. Steve expects a loss of 15% of each queens from larva-to-finished with a 44% success or 44 queens raised from 100 eggs.

During the question-answer period following Steve's presentation members gained valuable information regarding the desirable traits that good queens possess and what to look for in hives with those queens.

The club will meet on the 8th of July, the second Monday of the month at which time Brad Keck will demonstrate the process of making MEAD...

KEEP BUZZING till next month!!!!