March 2017 Minutes
The Northern Neck Beekeepers Club met on March 13, 2017 at St. Stephen’s Church in Heathsville, VA. President John Olivier called the meeting to order at 6pm.
The February minutes were approved. Hyte Smith gave the financial report, which Dave Holt, Treasurer had sent and it was approved.
A nomination committee is needed immediately as new officers must be selected. John Olivier cannot be the President again next year according to our by-laws. If you are interested in serving on the committee or serving as president, let John know.
*Ted Munson has education material. Two boxes of handouts, a banner, a tent, etc…
* John Elkin had his hives inspected by a USDA inspector. One of his hives had thirty-eight mites per hundred bees. John had this hive for over five years and never had any problems before. In going over his beekeeping notes, he realized that while he had checked the majority of his hives he had missed two. One he did not check had the mites. Moral of the story - Check all of your hives for mites.
*John Oliver brought in hive equipment that he had made. He explained it is not hard to make.
Mike Church’s Report:
*The day of our meeting it was cold with snow showers. Mike informed us this is normal weather for March as compared to the warm eighty-two degrees two weeks ago.
* Because of the cold weather the bees may feel packed in and start thinking about queen cells. Check after this week.
*If you have not reversed yet, you probably need to do so. Splits need to be created now if there are queen cells in the hive.
* You can also do a preventive strike at swarming by doing a split when no queen cells are present. Take the old queen from the hive with some frames and put her in a hive box. Move that box back to the old spot so the field bees will return to the hive. Take the rest of the hive and leave in the middle. They will make a new queen.
*Growing Degree Days: Everything that grows has a growing degree day starting January 1.
Autumn Olive days 132-135 and locust day 138 for example. More hives die in March due to a lack of food. As soon as there is a warm day, check the hives and feed them until the autumn olive blooms. They are a good nectar source.
*If you have a strong hive it is a good time to put supers on.
* Facebook “Question”- Looking at the bees when it is cold do you let the heat out?
The bees scrunch together to stay warm. It takes 2-3 days for bees to seal everything back in. It is minimal impact on the bees when you open it a day before it gets cold.
*50 degrees don’t break the cluster – don’t pull frames
*60 degrees you can pull frames and look quickly
*70 degrees you can set the frames out.
Look at your entrance reducer and see if there is any congestion. If so open it up to next size.
*If you are putting out bait hives, put them one and a half a mile away from your bees. In the bait boxes, place some drawn comb and a ½ inch sponge piece with 2 to 3 drops of lemongrass oil on it. The Health Nut in Callao and the Kilmarnock Health store has lemongrass oil. Placing the bait boxes on deer stands works well.
The meeting adjourned at 7:00.
The next meeting will be held on April 10 at St. Stephen’s Church, Heathsville , VA at 7pm