Meeting Minutes from June 15, 2010 at Arlington Echo
Prior to the meeting, Jerry Fischer and Bart Smith conducted an open hive demonstration for the membership.
Mr. Luna welcomed all beekeepers to the meeting and a short business meeting followed:
The reading of the minutes from the April meeting was dispensed with in order to save time.
Mrs. Luna gave a treasurers report and indicated that the association had $1,646.58 in the account.
Mr. Luna reported that the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society Oyster Roast would be held in October and that the group was looking for a beekeeper for this event. Please contact Mr. Luna if you are interested.
Donna McCoy is out of town for a few days. She will loan you the extractor when she returns for a mere $25. If you return it clean, you get back $15. In her absence, please email Mr. Luna if you want to borrow the extractor.
The Anne Arundel County Fair will be held September 15-19. The Maryland State Fair will be held August 27-September 6. Please consider entering your bee products! Fair books were available at the meeting and are also available at the libraries.
There is an event at the Governor's House on July 17th at 10 a.m. in honor of "Pollinator's Day". Mr. Luna mentioned that beekeepers have a hive on grounds.
Lastly, Mr. Luna emphasized the need for SAFETY in the apiary. It is imperative for beekeepers to take precautions by wearing protective gear and using the smoker when checking their hives, particularly if hives are located in an isolated area. Please be careful!
Please remember to register your bees with the Maryland Department of Agriculture
There was a door prize drawing for a new bottom board and some brand new frames
Following the business meeting, Jerry Fischer, the state apiarist from the Maryland Department of Agriculture gave a power point presentation on "Summer Management".
The presentation covered 7 topics: Divides and Spilt Colonies, Nectar Flow, Rearing Queens, Removal of Honey/Extraction, Monitoring Mites, Hive Needs and Fair Consignments.
1. Dividing and Splitting Colonies: When thinking about splitting or dividing a colony, Jerry encouraged the group to "think like a bee" and posed the question "when would bees do this naturally"? In Maryland, this would typically occur when bees are likely to swarm. Beekeepers want to consider doing this before the major nectar flow in Maryland, which, he stated, gets earlier and earlier each year. In Maryland the tulip poplar and black locust nectar is flowing in late May/early June. Nucs/divided colonies can be placed 2 to 3 miles from the former colony.
2. Nectar Flow: The first nectar flow in Maryland is not the best for honey. This is "brood flow" (i.e. maples) or "bee build up flow". The major flow of tulip poplar and black locust runs from April 20th to June 15th. Mr. Fischer stated that due to cold weather in the south and the availability of packaged bees that occurs in late April to early May, that Maryland beekeepers should consider nucs and dividing of colonies so that bees can take advantage of nectar flows that are occurring earlier each year (i.e. before the arrival of the packaged bees).
Mr. Fischer indicated that a good rule of thumb to follow when placing supers on hives would be "when you see your first dandelion". Consider 9 frames with spacers, so that bees can build out more comb, which makes it easier to uncap honey. Utilize an upper entrance when nectar is flowing (i.e. a hole that can be corked later on) so that bees returning to the hive with nectar can get to the super faster. This increases the visits to the super each day, which is beneficial to the beekeeper.
3. Queen Rearing: When to do this? You would do this the same time the bees would - during a major nectar flow - when the bees make their swarm cells. Mr. Fischer noted that queens are not lasting as long as they used to last. Years ago queens lives to be 3 to 5 years. Now queens live up to 2 years.
Early divide - use swarm cells/eggs
Later queens - use nucs/grafting
4. Honey Removal: Various methods can be used including a brush, chemicals, blower (use vacuum cleaning in "blow function"), or bee escape. You want to extract as soon as you remove supers in order to avoid problems from humidity.
5. Mite Infestation: Methods of survey include visual, sticker board, drone brood and sugar roll. Mr. Fischer emphasized that hives should be treated for mites "only if necessary" and that beekeepers do not want to treat if mite numbers are below the threshold level, which could lead to hives becoming resistant to products. (Numbers - if less than 45 on a 24 hour sticky board or less than 5 on a sugar role - if above those numbers you would treat and if below those numbers you would not treat the hive.) Treat per label of the product. If you need to treat the hive, take the honey supers off the hive and treat. The beekeepers first responsibility is to raise healthy hives. The best time to treat is when there is little or no brood.
6. Hive Needs: Include a water source, feeding and ventilation. Ventilation is needed in July and August, but also is needed in the winter. During the nectar dearth in July and August - consider planting something that blooms in July or August near the hives in order to give the bees a nectar source. Opening the hives for lengthy periods in July and August can lead to robbing, as can outside feeding. Feed internally so the bees can protect themselves.
7. Fair Consignments: County fair books are now available. On page 63 you will see all the categories for entries. The Anne Arundel County Fair will be held September 15-19. The State Fair will be held August 27 to September 6th. Entries for the State fair will be August 24 and 25 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Lastly, in all summer hive management activities, Mr. Fischer encouraged the group to remember to "Think Like a Bee" when determining hive needs. The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.