May 2018

NWA Beekeepers Meeting Minutes for 2018, May 14

Attendance: 62

The Bee Clubs annual field day will be held on June 9th beginning at 9:00am at Winfridus Bakker house. Directions will be email prior to the field day. If it doesn’t rain on the Friday or Saturday prior to the event. We will split into two groups. Jim Picket will be opening a hive and demonstrating how to go through a hive and what to look for. From using a smoker to different types of brood…etc.

Winfridus will lead a lecture on plants and trees that are good for bees.

Topic: Treatment Free Beekeeping

Speaker: Shannon Ivy

In 2008 he had a captured a feral swarm that survived through the whole year while queens he had purchased from Kelly did not fair so well. They eventually died in the fall of the year. At that point Shannon stopped treating his bees all together and began the process of developing a bee yard full of local bees.

He believes that one of the aspects that have ruined the commercial bees is the size of the cell. Bees raised on 4.9mm cells or greater foundation have problems while the smaller bees raised on foundation with 4.9mm of smaller cells have fewer problems.

Shannon feels hive beetles are more of an issue than mites. He thinks a lot of bee problems are not caused by mites but by breeding and size of the bee.

He only uses feral survivors that lasted at least one year to serve as breeding stock. The strains that are not resistant to mites are obvious. They are dead by September.

He will only purchase queens from No-treat Apiaries.

Bees measuring less than 4.9 mm are feral. Cells larger than 4.9 mm are commercial bees. He looks for mites in the burr comb as a test to see how the colony is doing.

Believes higher brood nest temperatures - solid bottoms actually fight mites.

Small cell foundation has 38,000 more cells in two 10 frame deeps with standard foundation on wood frames.

The large cell bees were the brain child of Professor Baudoux who began promoting large cell bees in 1893.

Shannon uses Mannlake PF 100 and PF 120 small cell foundation in his hives.

Pre and post capping time . It takes less time to cap a small cell brood, thus less Varroa mites.

Mites have a harder time trying to get into a small cell bees.

Life cycle of Varroa mites

With smaller bees and shorter gestation times the mites have less time to attack the pupa.

Once honey bee cell is capped the mite cannot get into the cell.

Normal size worker bees take 12 days to cap. Drones take about 14 days to cap. That is why mites attack drone cells because they have more time to infect the drone pupa. But small cell bees normally cap at 11 days, thus preventing the mites from breeding. See this video lifecycle of the honey bee and Varroa mites:

Q: Will bees regress to small cell bees if you use foundation less natural comb? A: Yes, but it may take two or three generations.

Q: How do you regress bees?

A: Dadant 5.1 cell size is a good way to transition to 4.9 small cell size.

Michael Bush says smaller cell size leads to smaller bees.

Q: How do yo take care of ants?

A: 2 table spoons Boric acid, .5 cup sugar 1cups water. Place mixture in a small plastic container. Use cotton swabs stuck in the side of container to serve as ladders for ants.