Pierce County Beekeeping Association
July 2023 - Volume 29 - Issue 7
The summer is going well although too hot for me!!
We got the ground cover laid out in the new queen rearing/ resource apiary. Thank you to our wonderful volunteers, Greg and Cookie Willging and their grandsons, Cole and Caden. My grandson, Glenn and his friend, Trent. SR Balukoff and Kevin Young.
One swarm was caught and a nuc donated by a member, Mike Bergeron.
I just got a call from the ground maintenance manager from WSU. There has been evidence of a bear. We will be taking steps to protect the apiaries.
Kathleen and I did a quick check on the educational apiary and things are looking good.
The Blackberry flow is starting to wane in some areas but will soon be coming to an end. The same for the swarm season. This year, like last year, the majority of calls being for wasps and bumblebees.
I am really looking forward to the picnic July 22 and Daniel Najera who will be our guest speaker the last Monday in August. Just a reminder that we will have 2 meetings in August because of the State Fair and none in September. We also have the County Fair in August. I'm asking all who can, to sign up to volunteer to work the fairs in August and September on the events page of the website.
I also wanted to say how much I appreciate all who have been patient and stuck with us as we rebuild the association. Thank you
Volunteer sign up opportunities
Members, we need you! Pierce County Beekeepers Association couldn’t happen without you, our volunteers! Please sign up to help with the upcoming events. It is a great time to get to know other members and educate the community about the bees and what our organization is all about. Some of these events are fundraisers where we will be selling honey.
From brand new beekeeper to experienced beekeeper, you have a place at our table! You pick your comfort level, from selling the honey/ raffle tickets to just talking about bees. Come and join the fun!!
We need volunteers for the following:
Pierce County Fair:
August 10th through 13th
September 2nd through 25th
Educational and fundraiser
Don't forget our Annual Picnic!!
July 22, 2023
JOIN US FOR A PICNIC!
The first driveway on the right BEFORE the D.F. Allmendinger Center's driveway
(There will be a sign!)
2606 W Pioneer Ave, Puyallup, WA 98371
Saturday, July 22nd, 2023
PCBA ANNUAL PICNIC
Join us for a social picnic and please bring some entrees and drinks! We will provide hotdogs and burgers (w/vegan options). It would be great to see you and have some time to hang out without class or a guided meeting. Can't wait to see you there!
Join us for the next meeting!
Because of the State Fair we will be having 2 General meetings in August and no General meeting in September
D.F. Allmendinger Center
2606 W Pioneer Ave, Puyallup, WA 98371
August 7th, 2023
PCBA Monthly Meeting
6pm - Beginner Class, Sustainable Meeting, OSU Student Group
7pm - All Member Meeting
This will be a General Meeting with guest speaker, Daniel Najear
He will be discussing overwintering and disease as well as beekeeping in general. He awill also have information on Small Hive Beetle in western WA. We will also be handing out State Fair tickets to those who are volunteering.
There will be no classes on this date
Apiary Day Information
Apiary Days will be held May through October,
1st Friday as well as the 3rd Saturday of every month
Apiary Day is weather dependent. Please keep an eye on our Facebook Group to keep up with any updates on what is planned for the next upcoming, including estimated times and lesson plan.
D.F. Allmendinger Center
2606 W Pioneer Ave, Puyallup, WA 98371
July 15, 2023 Cancelled
August 4, 2023
Please come prepared with full bee gear - suit and/or jacket with long baggy pants, closed toed shoes, a smoker and/or sugar spray, as well as water for yourself. You will be asked to sign a waiver and verify if you have bee allergies. If you have a bee allergy, please come prepared, suited "to the 9's" and have appropriate medications on hand in case of an emergency. We cannot guarantee to have said medications nor appropriate dosages for you, on site.
What the heck should I be doing now?
A timely article on a Beekeeper's life cycle and what we should be doing with our bees this month
August is almost here. The blackberries are gone in some areas and waning in others. Where my hives are in Graham, we are about 3 weeks behind where the club apiary is in Puyallup. The blackberries are still flowering but will be gone by August. I finally got to do inspections on all of my hives, in one day!!! You should be doing an inspection soon to see how your hives are faring going into the dearth. Check their stores of honey. Stand behind your hive and from the bottom, give it a little lift. Is it heavy or light? Watch your entrance. How many bees are there? Does there seem to be fighting? Do you see wasps? Are there orientation flights going on? Do the bees look generally healthy and are they bringing in pollen? What do you see on the ground in front of the hive? Do the dead bees on the ground have evidence of disease? Does the amount of dead bees seem excessive? Are there ants or evidence of other pests or predators? You can learn so much about the health of your hive before even cracking the top! Once you open the hive, what do you see? How many bees? How does it smell? Are they calm or aggressive? How many frames of resources do they have? Do you see capped brood, eggs, larvae? Is there evidence of pests like ants or wax moths?
On my last inspection, I found several hives that were weak and not going to survive the winter, so I combined them. I found 2 queenless hives and re-queened them. I noticed one hive was being robbed so I decreased the entrance and fixed the lid that had gotten askew. Because I’m still in the middle of the flow, I decided not to do a deep inspection on most of the hives. I want the bees to be making honey and not spending their time repairing all the damage I’ve done just by opening the hive. It can take them up to a week to repair all the comb, mop up all the honey and nectar, clean up and restore the hive back to the right temperature.
On my inspection this week, I found most of my hives doing well and some are definitely overachievers. In one hive, I found lots of rogue comb (beekeeper error), but because it was so full and heavy with nectar, I decided to leave it so as not to lose the honey. I’ll fix it later. On the hive that was being robbed, I found not very many bees but a laying queen, eggs, larvae and capped comb, although spotty. I also found wax moths. I wasn’t sure what to do with that one, so I texted my mentor. I want to try to save them so I will be adding a few frames of bees with brood and I will add sugar water and a pollen patty. I found another hive with about half the bees I thought should be there. I also found older capped brood, no eggs or larvae, backfilling of cells with nectar, lots of drones and no queen. My 1st thought was they had swarmed and I missed it. But as I inspected the frames, I found 3 newly hatched supersedure queen cells. So swarm or supersedure, I decided to close them up and wait. I’m thinking the queen is probably on her mating flight. I’ll check again in 2 weeks. That should give her enough time to sort herself out and start laying. I will requeen if she doesn’t. My third and last problem hive (child…lol) was one of the hives I requeened. As I watched the entrance, one bee then another came out. Then one went in. Compared to the hive next to it where there were hundreds of bees flying in and out told the story. So I decided to do a full on inspection. The queen is in there and laying but there are only 3 frames of bees. I use Layens hives and my thriving hives have 11-13 frames so that tells me they will not survive. I haven’t decided what I am going to do with that one. I don’t want to lose the queen by combining and I don’t want to waste resources by adding frames and bees to a dying hive. Maybe overwinter as a nuc? I have to do a little research on the best options. I just can’t wait very long. The rest of the hives I looked enough to see brood, eggs and that there didn’t seem to be any urgent issues. I added more frames
(same as adding a super for langstroth) for the hives that were filling up their last frames and closed them up.
I was a nurse for a very long time. We would be given our assignment for the day. The first thing I did was assess each patient and then develop a “plan of care” for each of them. As I cared for them, I would give them what they needed: food, water, medications, treatments and made sure their environment was safe, secure and comfortable. I do the same with my colonies.
So, what should you be doing now? You have your assignment. Do your assessments and decide on a plan of care for each colony according to what you see and what they need. If you are unsure, ask for advice and help. Take a little time to just sit and enjoy the bees doing their thing and have fun!!!
Thoughts from our Members
Ask 5 beekeepers a question....
Fair to Fruition
It helps everyone when you do the work to enter your bee and honey products in
the Washington State Fair. Preparations might take a little time, so you might
want to start thinking about what you can put together.
Maybe you came across the perfect honey frame (Lincoln sure did last year!)
Make a stand and carefully wrap it in saran and don’t let anything puncture it until
you hand it over to the nice fair entry admissions people.
Definitely enter your beautiful honey! Did you know we have a special entry for
novices? If this is your first rodeo, anything helps. Get the right jars, get the
bubbles out, get the fill rate matchy-matchy and eliminate fingerprints. Don’t get
any honey on the inner cap (use saran, until you see the nice fair people).
How about something educational? Photojournalism or any type of display is
perfect for the million people going to the fair, hungry to learn more.
Have you a delicious food to enter? Maybe do a few practice runs now. Honey is
versatile and browns baked goods to a yummy appearance.
Now you are bowling along, take your beeswax and make lip balm: try one part
beeswax to five parts of a nice oil, be it olive oil, jojoba, macadamia nut. Hand
balms are one part to six parts. Beeswax is very flammable and we don’t want it
on direct heat or it will ruin the nice fragrance and healing properties of it. The
possibilities are endless, as there are versatile recipes on the internet, and you
will never look back. Lip balms are great flavored; try peppermint and cherry
almond. The essential oils for the hand balms must be ones that can go on skin;
not all are made for it. If they aren’t, they sting. People love a dazzling fragrance!
A lot of our members are experts at mead. It gets a lot of attention.
The final ornament to your entry is to work a shift at the fair booth your club
manages. Doesn’t matter your experience level! Hanging out with beekeepers is
End of July
“The more I studied beekeeping, the less I know, until, finally I
knew nothing. But even though I knew nothing, I had plenty
to unlearn.” ~ Charles Martin Simon
It was the end of August and I stopped by Robbin’s Honey Supply for some
things. Talking to Harvard, he exclaimed, “Well, look around! Do you see any
forage?” By golly, no, I did not and his acre had vegetation there.
So, listen, the season is ending at the end of this month and we are going to
move into fall preparations. Beekeepers must understand seasonal changes and
when to implement without undue disturbance to the hive.
Strong colonies will eliminate many problems and diseases on their own.
With less food in the wild, even if the weather is hot with some later flowering
plants blooming, the honey flow has decreased, hive population is falling, drones
are being exiled. The queen is laying less.
The honey supers are off and I am starting mite treatments. I have found
nowadays one set is not enough and I start early so that I can get three in. I add
in-house feeders, using two parts sugar to one part water (or six cups water to
five pounds of white sugar). Boil the water. Add half the sugar, stirring until no
longer cloudy, and then again with the rest. When cool, I add some powdered
chaga mushroom and a drop of lemongrass essential oil. It really smells good!
Dysentary may occur if the honey is unripe in the fall. With the colder weather,
they can’t get it finished.
Yellow jackets have a field day with a weak hive. One year, completely frustrated,
I stood next to a hive with a vacuum cleaner hose trying to suck up those zig
zagging yellow jackets. Fruitless, I know.
I also like a three quarter inch to one inch tilt to my hives, from the rear, to work
out any moisture. Adding a quilt box when the feeder comes off kind of ends the
beekeeping year for me.
National Honey Board
Submitted byTina Tyler
A Drones Dilemma
For me a drone, “tis good and bad
The role I’m born to play
I do not work that grievous chore
Like workers do each day
Mine is the job or courting her
And mating with the queen
Since I have nothing more to do
Save eat a lot and preen
But I must pay when summer ends
And Autumn says goodby
They’ll turn me out into the cold
And leave me there to die
©Billy Wobblepoint ‘79
Submitted by Tina Tyler
Member Suggested Resources & Articles
If you have suggestions for the newsletter, please send to Kathleen email@example.com
Homemade Swarm Lure Recipe - by PCBA Member, Rebecca Morris [READ]
Directed evolution of Metarhizium fungus improves its biocontrol efficacy against Varroa mites in honey bee colonies (2021) Jennifer O. Han, Nicholas L. Naeger, Brandon K. Hopkins, David Sumerlin, Paul E. Stamets, Lori M. Carris, and Walter S. Sheppard. Scientific Reports 11:10582 [READ]
A Field Trial of Probiotics - First published in ABJ May 2021 - Randy Oliver [READ]
Walking The Walk - Selective Breeding For Mite Resistance; 2022 Update, Part 1 - Randy Oliver [READ]
"Seeds for Bees" with Project Apis m. presented by Rory Crowley and Stetcyn Malonado - Beekeeping Today Podcast [LISTEN]
WA State Pollinator Health Task Force [LEARN MORE]
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