6:30 President, Doug Galloway, gave the invocation and started the meeting. New members and visitors introduced themselves briefly and were welcomed.
Secretary, Sara Kennedy:
Minutes from April were emailed earlier this week, with a few paper copies available at the meeting. April minutes were approved.
Treasurer, Julia Brown:
The treasurer’s report was emailed earlier this week, with a few paper copies available at the meeting. The treasurer’s report was approved.
Program Chair, Mickey Hollar:
Next month’s speaker will be Dr. Bill Herring, talking about anaphylactic shock. Attendees will become certified to administer epinephrine (EpiPens).
Vice President, Tracey Carriker:
Please see Tracey if you have not yet received a GAP form. Completed forms may be turned in to Tracey.
President, Doug Galloway:
The Practical test for Certified Beekeeper will be held in Mack’s beeyard on June 22, weather permitting. The rain date is June 29.
As a reminder, we are donating a basket of honeybee related items for the Silent Auction at the NCSBA Summer Conference. Proceeds from the Silent Auction go to support Dr. Tarpy’s lab. If you have an item you wish to contribute, please bring it to a meeting and give it to either Doug or Tracey.
We are still looking for a candidate (or candidates) to take on the presidency starting in 2020, and Doug would like to have them shadow him for the remainder of the year to assist in a smoother transition. Please contact Doug if you are interested.
Support your local bee businesses! Eddie Hicks still has nucs available for this year; Robert Smith has queens. H.S. Greene has sold out of packages for this year but still has equipment. His new store is now open 8-5 Monday-Friday and 8-12 Saturday. Linda Moretz is selling equipment by appointment.
Remember to please contact your state congressperson in support of House Bill 334, which will provide $2 million in funding to replace and upgrade Dr. Tarpy’s lab and support his continuing bee research. You can find your representative and their contact information at ncleg.gov.
We need volunteers to work the NCSBA booth at the State Fair in Raleigh in October. We may choose one day that our chapter will be responsible for. This will require a minimum of ten people, with at least three people staffing the booth for each shift. Sara will coordinate this and will look for a date that will work for the most people. Volunteers receive free admission to the fair on that day.
Starting in June, we will have a new meeting location. We will be at the United Presbyterian Church, 415 Pennell Street, NE, Lenoir. Thanks to the efforts to Danny and Mary Jaynes and Patrick and John Muldoon, the church as agreed to allow us to use their Multi-Purpose room for our meetings on a donation basis. Continuing our discussion from April, we decided to donate $200/year to the church– $20/month, excluding the August picnic and December holiday party.
7:00 — Guest Speaker: Master Beekeeper Bryan Fisher, “Splits”
Bryan is a fourth-generation beekeeper who has been keeping bees for 15 years. He currently manages around 200 colonies while also holding a full-time job. He began by telling us that he killed his bees each year for the first three years, and encouraging any of us who may be struggling not to give up. He says that a key to success is being willing to change and evolve your beekeeping as circumstances change (such as new diseases). In recent years he has gone from 60% losses to less than 10% losses by changing his varroa strategy, which he will touch on as it relates to his splitting strategy. His goal in splitting is to increase honey production.
Reasons for making splits include making nucs to sell, increasing your number of hives, having more queens around, and having spare resources that can be shared between hives. Bryan prefers to make splits later in the year, rather than in spring, because of our short, intense nectar flow and the tight market for queens later in the year. He makes his splits at the end of the nectar flow. He went through an annual sequence of events for us:
-January and February: rather than splitting, he equalizes colonies to prevent swarming. He either moves bees and brood from strong colonies to weak ones, giving the strong colony empty drawn comb to make room for the queen to lay, or he swaps the location of strong and weak colonies during the day while the foragers are out so that the foragers from the strong colony enter the weaker one.
-April and May: he cuts out queen cells every 7-10 days, or makes splits from queen cells in the very strongest colonies only. In either case, he must first make sure that the original queen hasn’t already left. If making a split, he moves the original queen and three frames of brood to a nuc to create a false swarm. He then cuts out all but two queen cells from the parent colony. The new queen gets an established hive with a brood break to control varroa, and should still be able to produce a honey crop that year. Plus, if the new queen fails the nuc and the original queen can be recombined into the parent colony.
-May: he splits colonies that aren’t making much honey. He culls the original queen, divides bees, brood, and food equally into two splits that he moves to a different bee yard, and adds a new queen to each split—either a purchased queen or one reared in his yard. These splits will not produce harvestable honey this year, but will have the rest of the nectar flow to build up and should be strong next year.
-June and July: he extracts honey, condenses hives, treats for varroa, and makes splits. The day he removes the supers, he feeds the colony and begins a varroa treatment. He makes splits after completing the varroa treatment. These splits will need to be fed to build up for winter. Although he declined to name which mite treatment(s) he uses, he cautioned us to pay attention to the temperature restrictions of the various options.
-August and September: he does a second round of mite treatment. He urges us not to put this off—remember that it’s not just the mites but the viruses they carry, and it takes longer to clear the colony of viruses than it does just to kill the mites—you need multiple brood cycles for the colony to be virus-free going into winter.
Bryan offered us a few additional tips:
-Aim to have twice the number of hives in the fall as you want to have in the spring.
-When feeding with in-hive feeders, open all hives before filling any feeders, and do not spill any syrup or you will have robbing.
-If you cannot find the queen when you want to make splits (which shouldn’t be until you have a new queen or queen cells ready): divide frames of brood and food equally between two boxes, shake all the bees into the bottom box, and re-stack with a queen excluder between the boxes. Come back the next day, and the workers will have re-equalized and the queen should be in the bottom box. (This technique works best if you are making 10-frame splits from double-deep colonies.)
-He advises against letting bees raise their own queens, as emergency queens aren’t as strong and it takes a long time.
-New splits should have two frames of brood in March and one additional frame for each month later.
Meeting Adjourned at 8:45.
38 people in attendance, including visitors and children.
Minutes submitted by Sara Kennedy, Secretary
Future Chapter Meetings at 6:30 pm, United Presbyterian Church, 415 Pennell Street, Lenoir
2019 Chapter Meetings/Tentative Schedule of Speakers
June 20: Dr. Bill Herring / Anaphylactic Shock
July 25: TBD (Note date change because of EAS)
Aug 15: Annual Picnic
Sept 19: Emily Trescot / Wax Comb and Candles
Oct 17: Robert Smith / How to Build Affordable Woodenware/Sizes
Nov 21: Debbie Mitchell
Dec 19: Annual Christmas Dinner
Caldwell County Beekeepers Class 2019
Practical Test June 22, weather permitting
Rain date June 29
Future Conference Meetings
Eastern Apiculture Society Meeting from July 15 -19, in Greenville SC
Summer 2019 NCSBA Meeting, August 8-10 in Hickory NC.
NC State Fair, October 17-27, in Raleigh