March 2010

Ken Fielding (President) opened meeting at 7pm quick survey of new people.

About 120 people in attendance.

Mel (Secretary-Treasurer) made announcement about paperwork that is going around (sign in for attendance, volunteers to do snacks for meetings for rest of year (month by month basis, please email Mel if you want to volunteer-it is greatly appreciated!!), glove order sign up ($7.25 per pair, order will go in by the end of the week so email Mel if not signed up!).

Ken mentioned having people volunteer to do stuff for club like media relations, email him if you want to volunteer for something!

Name tags will be used at subsequent meetings, so look out for them.

Dues need to be paid.

David Cheek reports that Monet Missouri club is going to give a queen rearing class. Free. 2 days. Dates unknown but when known will post on website.

Mark Eaton is main attraction tonight: showing basic equipment and hive parts.

All equipment is standard dimensions for Langstroth hives (Langs).

2 types of bottom boards: solid and screened. We recommend screened bottoms for mite control and air. It’s for integrated pest management and helps reduce pest population and debris.

On top of bottom board is hive body (deep box) with frames in it. Frames are all standardized and most have foundation. There’s plastic or natural wax foundation. Some people go without any foundation and just put some wax on the frames or starter strips. Plastic foundation works best when coated with wax and sprayed with sugar water. One other kind of foundation total plastic (lots are specialized for small cell or drone foundation). Bees prefer wax foundation. Make sure you don’t mix, if there’s wax and plastic, the bees will use the wax and not the plastic. The plastic frames last longer, but the bees don’t like it as well.

Other boxes are either another deep or shallows for honey.

Inner covers usually come with oval holes in center. Inner cover allows for insulation and also to stop condensation from dripping on the bees. Hole on top is for bee escape that gets added for getting box empty for honey extraction. Mark says these bee escapes don’t work and he cuts his inner covers for feeder bottle to fit in instead. Feeding from the top stops robber bees from going through instead of having to use Boardman feeder which slips into the entrance.

For feeding, make tiny nail holes in canning jar lid but not so big that the feed drips through. Other ways to feed inside is a division board feeder, replaces a frame, holds a lot of syrup (both shallow and deep available) but drowns bees if they have nothing to float on. Put some wire mesh so the bees can climb up it. But the canning jar is a lot cheaper. Another way is Miller top feeder that covers the entire top of the hive and has screened areas so the bees can get in but not totally out. There are two reservoirs that hold a couple of gallons of feed. The wooden ones are sealed with polyurethane but there are also plastic ones.

Queen excluders are metal or plastic. Mark likes totally metal bound. Queen can’t pass through and lay eggs in the honey supers.

Top of hive: telescoping top cover, all 4 sides come down around top of top box. Metal on top will last a lot of years. Other type of top is the migratory top – bound on only two ends so that hives can be stacked next to one another tightly for moving distances on trucks. Mark uses them for feeding the bees.

If using inner cover for feeding, empty box and top needs to go around it.

Joints of boxes: dovetail joints or rabbit joints. Dovetail joints are not true, they’re box joints and they make a super strong connection and are nailed in both directions. Rabbit joint is just as good as long as it’s nailed in both directions.

Putting boxes together: Buy cheap throw-away brushes. Use it for gluing the joints before nailing. Watch for the handles on correct side of box!!! Outside, not inside! We’ve all done it! Pickett says toothbrush works well for getting in the joints for glue, too. Handy to have long wood clamps to keep boxes squeezed together for ease during nailing.

Frames: bottom bars have either split bottom or grooved bottom. Split bottom allows for all foundation to fit through but groove bottom sometimes doesn’t take foundation as well.

Nailing frames together: Frames will come with three basic parts: top bar, bottom bar, and 2 end bars. 10 nails for each frame, last 2 are very important. Glue first! Put top bar on table with glue on both ends and set end bars on top. Put glue on bottom bar and set on top of end bars. 2 nails on each end of bottom bar to end bars (so 4 nails altogether). Be real careful, very easy to get nail ends on outside. Flip! 2 nails on each end of top of top bar into end bars. 2 nails left! Drive 1 nail each into side of end bars below the top bar junction on each side. 10 nails in.

Putting foundation in: Plastic foundation goes in real easy – snap! For wax foundation different process, put eyelets into end bars (4 on each side). Do this before you put the frames together! Kelley and Mann Lake make their own frames. Most everyone else buy from elsewhere. After eyelets are in, put frame together just like above and then wire the frames. Use small brads on end bars to hook the wires on. Put in but leave out enough to wrap wire onto them. Wire can be any wire, craft wire from Hobby Lobby is fine. Run wire through adjacent holes and run back and forth across frame through all 8 eyeletted holes, nail one nail down with one end of wire wound around. Take other end and wrap around other nail to pull out slack and tighten wire as much as possible. Wrap around nail and drive the nail in and break off the other end of the wire. Now it’s ready for foundation.

If wedged frame, pop off wedge (watch for splinters!) put wax foundation (if cold watch for cracking). If foundation has wires sticking out, put wires against top bar and put wedge cleat back in against foundation. Nail wedge to frame. Use spur embedder to get wire into wax. (May want to keep boiling water nearby to clean off spur embedder cleaned off). There are production boxes you can get to do 10 frames at a time. Can use a nail gun to do it all quickly.

You can completely avoid foundation if you are not going to extract honey with an extractor. Just put some wax on an adjusted wedge attached to the top bar and the bees will draw out comb to fill the frame. You can only do this if you’re not going to extract. Extracted frames need to be reinforced with wire.

Making your own equipment: making boxes needs to be precise, but it can be done. Making frames is way too time consuming unless you’ve got a lot of time and good equipment. It’s much more cost effective to buy your frames.

Random questions about feeding.


Jim Pickett: He showed us what the package will look like and explained the queen cage. With the queen cage, be aware of which cork has the candy behind it. You will want to remove the cork with the candy so that it gives the bees time to eat through the candy and the bees are getting used to the queens pheromones. As far as poking the hole in the queen candy, some do and some don’t. Pickett doesn’t.

Package bees, they should be here Saturday 10 April in mid afternoon. You’ll need to have your hive ready and you can install them late in the day so that they go into the hive quickly and stay there overnight.

Youtube video on installing packages. Go to youtube and search for installing bee packages. One he showed was Beekeeping Part 12, Starting new hives, installing a package of bees. One thing this video did not talk about is putting a feeder on the bees. It’s important to feed your package immediately. Also, don’t forget, candy needs to go up in case one of the attendants dies and blocks the hole, it will be harder for the queen to get out.

Open questions about random stuff to get prepared for getting new packages. Most importantly, don’t buy queens with clipped wings. That’s a damaged queen (not to mention that’s mean!). If you can’t install your queens or bees because of rain or something, get them inside and cool and put some water on the screen to keep them fed and moist. Marking queens is good and we will be getting marked queens. It’s good to help find her but also to keep track of if the queens get superceded.

Meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm

Melissa Z. Harvey,


Disclaimer: Some subjective comments made in these minutes do not necessarily represent the opinions of the entire group. Since I’m the only sucker to take this position, I feel that I’m at least entitled to a little artistic license. Bee Good! Enjoy.