Teaching Beekeepers and
Caring for Honey Bees since 1964

Hello AABA Community! Welcome to the first AABA newsletter of the new year. Please check out the upcoming events and other beekeeping related news below. If you have any questions, please check out the AABA Website or drop us a line at info@aabees.org.

Snowy BeehivesHappy New Year!

Dear AABA Members,

It’s 2019 and time to renew your AABA membership! Your $5 membership fee helps to bring many benefits to you as a member and to the beekeeping community. Membership benefits include: five meetings per year with guest speakers and refreshments, door prizes, mentoring, library materials, and honey extractor rental.
If you will not be able to attend the February meeting and renew in person, please take a few minutes and renew your membership now. The Membership form and check for $5 may be mailed to:

Dennis Roundy, AABA Treasurer
7665 Porcelain Tile Court
Odenton, MD 21113

We've had the wettest year on record for our area – over 70 inches of rain. The bees were challenged through a cold, wet spring that delayed buildup, and then we had rain during the main nectar flow and again through the fall. We’ll hope all that rain will be recycled by the trees into a record nectar flow for 2019.

The wild weather also delayed delivery for packages and many nucs until late May, so 2018 was a challenging year to start beekeeping. As with all agricultural pursuits – this year will be better!

Winter is a great time to reflect and make plans for the coming year. Winter is also a great time for putting together woodenware and reading up about bees and learning as much as we can.

Join us - we're looking forward to a great year in beekeeping!

AABA 2019 Meeting Schedule

We meet every other month, starting in February, at Arlington Echo Education Center in Millersville. Details on this year's meetings and key speakers are below.

Tuesday, February 12 at 7-9 pm
Spring Management with David Clark. This is part one of a two-part spring management presentation. David will share his approach to the first inspection of spring. His talk will include assessments of colony strength, reversing and swarm prevention, and tips for maintaining your bee yard and equipment.

David is a member of BUMBA Bee club, AABA, Southern Maryland Bee Club, DC Bee Club, and represents PG County on the Maryland State Beekeepers Association Board. In 2014 he won the Maryland State Beekeeper's Citizenship Award. David has been a beekeeper for 9 years and raises nucs for sale in addition to supporting his own apiary. He also mentors 3 to 4 beekeepers per year in addition to teaching beekeeping at the University District of Columbia.

Tuesday, April 16, 6:30-8:30 pm
Open Hive Demo. Help examine the honey bee colonies at Arlington Echo. You will be able to see the progress of overwintered colonies and new colonies that were established during the Short Course.

On-the-Spot Queen Rearing. David Clark returns with part two of his Spring Management presentation. This time the focus is on raising our own queens using the On-the-Spot (OTS) method for a self-sufficient apiary.

Tuesday, June 18, 6:30-8:30 pm
Open Hive Demo. Examine the honey bee colonies at Arlington Echo and observe the results of the May honey flow.

Gadgets You Could Keep Bees Without, But Won’t Want To – Allen Hayes
Allen has created numerous unique items relating to beekeeping and he enjoys sharing those creations with others. Allen is an EAS certified Master Beekeeper, a lifelong resident of Central Maryland, and a former President of the Maryland State Beekeepers Association.

Tuesday, August 20, 7-9 pm
Note the Date and Stay tuned. The speaker is TBD.
We will also have a “Panel of Beekeepers” to discuss seasonal hive management.

Tuesday, October 15, 7-9 pm
Note the Date and Stay tuned. The speaker is TBD.

2019 AABA Officers and Volunteers

Election were held at our October meeting:

Club Officers

President – Carl Guerci, Jr.
Vice-President – Michael Doyle
Treasurer – Dennis Roundy
Secretary – Debbie Hewitt

Club Chairpersons

Club Rentals – Chrissy Perry
County Fair Coordinator – Michael Doyle
Door Prize Coordinator – Dwight Fielder
Librarian – Carl Guerci Jr.
Mentor Coordinator – Jim Larson
Photography – Susan Huber
Short Course Coordinator – Debbie Hewitt
Program Coordinator – Jim Larson
Snacks – Deni Estrada-Palma
Social Media – Charles DeBarber
Swarms Coordinator – Carl Guerci Jr.
Webmaster – David Mumford

Note:  If you would like to hold an office or be involved in any way in the AABA, please contact Carl Guerci, Jr. at president@aabees.org.

AABA 2019 Short Course

The 2019 AABA Short Course is underway. This is our twenty-second year to offer a Short Course – Beekeeping, A Honey of A Hobby. Last year 35 people completed the course. This year we have 41 students registered.

This "Beekeeping 101" course is for anyone interested in learning about keeping honey bees. Click here for more information.

The fees for this year's course are:
$50 for an individual and
$30 for each additional family member.

Classes (for registered students):

Session 1, December 11, 2018
Introduction to Beekeeping, Equipment, and Apiary Basics
Presenter: Delia Edelman of Freestate Bees at Crownsville Gardens

Session 2, February 19, 2019
Honey Bee Biology and Colony Behavior
Presenter: Rick Derrick

Session 3, February 26, 2019
Spring and Summer Management
Presenter: Carl Guerci, Jr. of AABA

Session 4, March 5, 2019
Fall and Winter Management
Presenter: Tim McMahon, EAS Certified Master Beekeeper

Session 5, March 12, 2019
Maintaining Healthy Bees and Nectar Sources
Presenters: Jim Fraser, EAS Certified Master Beekeeper and Debbie Hewitt, AABA

Session 6, April 6, 2019
Honey Extracting & Products of the Hive / Hive Management and Installing Bees
Presenters: Carl Guerci, Jr. and Debbie Hewitt, AABA
Sessions 1-5 are Tuesdays, 7 - 9 pm
Session 6 is Saturday, 9 am - 1 pm

The course coordinator is Debbie Hewitt, shortcourse@aabees.org

Calling New Beekeepers!

It can be tricky trying to figure out what is happening in your beehives. AABA will continue to host our New Beekeeper Hour one full hour before our regularly scheduled meetings in April, June, August, and October (see dates below). Please bring your bee suit and veil/protective gear. We will open the Arlington Echo hives to see what is happening with each colony and will have a Q & A session. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 16th at 5:30 pm
Tuesday, June 18th at 5:30 pm
Tuesday, August 20th at 6 pm
Tuesday, October 15th at 6 pm

Treasurer's Report

By Dennis Roundy

We ended the year with 165 members and $4385.35 in the bank. Some expenses for the Short Course (mainly speakers' honorariums) haven't been paid out yet.

Anne Arundel County Fair Report

By Michael Doyle
The 2018 AA County Fair was a success! Thanks to all our volunteers who manned the Anne Arundel Beekeeper's booth.

Audrey Lee won the 2018 Commander Mumford award for her painted beehive. Congratulations Audrey!

The 2019 AA County Fair is September 11-15, 2019.
Date Honey Booth Activities
Saturday, September 7 Booth Setup/Cleanup
Sunday, September 8 Entry Day, 1 pm - 5 pm
Monday, September 9 Entry Day, 10 am - 7 pm
Tuesday, September 10 Exhibit Judging
September 11-15 AABA Volunteers needed to work the Honey Booth

The Honey Department's section of the 2018 Anne Arundel County Fair catalog is available here. The 2019 catalog will be online shortly. Everyone is encouraged to enter – even new beekeepers!


AABA Extractor Rentals Report

By Chrissy Perry

Last year was not a banner year for extracting honey if measured by AABA extractor rentals. Only seven members rented the extractor last season, producing $80 in rental income for the club.  (One member rented it twice so someone had a good year!).  By contrast, in previous years the average rental income is approximately $200. 

The fee for renting an extractor is $25; $15 is refunded upon return of the clean extractor. The club also owns an electric uncapping knife, which can be rented for no additional fee. Members must be current on their dues in order to rent an extractor; extractors are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The ability to rent a honey extractor is one of the many benefits of AABA membership, and at $10 per use (as opposed to per day, which is charged elsewhere), it is a bargain. To make arrangements to rent one of the AABA extractors, contact Chrissy Perry at rentals@aabees.org (preferred) or (410) 849-2726.

Maryland State Beekeepers Meeting

The MSBA's 2019 Winter Meeting will be held Saturday, February 2, 2019. The meeting is from 9 am – 4 pm with doors opening at 8 am.

The meeting will be held at Harford Community College in Bel Air, MD.

Spend the day learning from:
Dr. Samuel Ramsey – Varroa mite expert.
William Sprenkle – Queen rearing to improve your own stock.
Mark Dykes –Extension and Bee Squad coordinator for the vanEngelsdorp Bee Lab.

Vendors from Mann Lake, Dadant, and Snyder’s Apiaries will be present. Place orders to be picked up.

For full details and directions, see: https://www.mdbeekeepers.org/


EAS 2019 Meeting

The Eastern Apicultural Society of North America (EAS) 2019 meeting will be held July 15th – 19th at the Hilton in Greenville, South Carolina.

EAS was established in 1955 with the purpose of promoting honey bee culture, the education of beekeepers, and excellence in bee research. Every summer, EAS organizes an annual conference in one of the member states/provinces. About 500 people from around the world attend this conference every year.

The conference includes educational courses, two-day Short Course with tracks appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced beekeepers, Master Beekeeping Testing and Certification, and 30 live hives for hands-on learning.

Details on EAS 2019 can be found on the EAS Website.


Winter Feed for Honey Bees

Many colonies starve in the winter without sufficient food stores over or next to the cluster. Fondant, sugar blocks, or winter patties (from bee supply companies) can be placed on the frames right over the cluster, giving the bees easy access to food (bonus: sugar also absorbs excess moisture). Add a ¾ inch feeding shim under the inner cover to create space for fondant (if you do not have shims, you can use an empty super and fill the extra space with insulation or newspaper). Check periodically throughout the winter and add more fondant as needed, especially now that the bees have started rearing brood. (If you think your bees will starve, feed them – even if it’s cold. It only takes a minute to slide in some fondant/sugar if you are prepared.)

See Fondant recipe at https://aabees.org/recipes/fondant-bee-sugar-candy/.

Sugar Block recipe: For a sugar block, moisten 10 lbs. of sugar with 6 ounces of water (apple cider vinegar may be used for part of the water). Mix well to moisten the sugar. Press firmly into cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Score to size to fit hive before drying. Dry in low oven 150 degrees for an hour and then turn off the heat and let sit until cool, or allow to air harden for a day or up to a week. 

Many thanks to all our Newsletter Contributors!

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