Pierce County Beekeeping Association
November 2023 - Volume 29 - Issue 11
It's hard to believe that it is already November and only 5 more weeks until Christmas!!! I am certainly not ready! We have had a great year and now that the elections are over, I'm looking forward to another year as your president. Congratulations to Kathleen Clerc as vice president, Fawn Casey as treasurer, Jillian Selcer and Nathan Chambers as co- secretaries.
We have some great plans for the year to come and welcome any ideas or suggestions that you have to make our association better. One of the plans we were working on, the pollinator gardens has had to be put on hold until we can meet with WSU as the soil and locations are not suitable. The plot near the apiary is a wetlands area. Thanks to Mary Kline for doing the soil testing and spearheading the project. We will continue to add hives to the resource/ queen rearing apiary and add ground cover to the existing one. We are also working with other non profit organizations. One is, Building Behind the Walls. We will be exchanging services and will provide bee/pollinator presentations to their group in exchange for Langstroth and Layens hives to be built for our teaching apiary and in January, we will be adding an intermediate beekeeping class and workshops. These are just a few of the projects that's on the planning white board!!
ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD NEWS
Our next Board meeting Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 6:30 pm. All are welcome to join. If you would like to come, please contact me for location details 253-640-1615
Volunteer for our Projects!
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!!
Honey House Scrub Down
Our Honey House is ready for a facelift! Come help us give the Honey House a Deep Scrub inside and outside, sand down the counters & repaint them, hang instructions and photos on the walls, etc. o join this list, please provide your Full Name, Address, Contact Information (email and phone number) & Notes/Information to Kathleen Clerc email@example.com
Join our newly formed Garden Committee and be a part of the development of the Pollinator Garden. Currently this project is on pause as we negotiate for a different plot locations. The sites that we were provided are not feasible for a garden unfortunately. To join this list, please provide your Full Name, Address, Contact Information (email and phone number) & Notes/Information to Kathleen Clerc firstname.lastname@example.org
Hive Host & Beekeeper List
We would like to build a list of those who have properties in which they are aiming to host hives on, as well as beekeepers who would like to service hives on host properties. To join this list, please provide your Full Name, Address, Contact Information (email and phone number) & Notes/Information to Kathleen Clerc email@example.com
Donation & Fundraising Committee
Help us to be involved in our community in a big way! To join this list, please provide your Full Name, Address, Contact Information (email and phone number) & Notes/Information to Kathleen Clerc firstname.lastname@example.org
Monthly Meeting Information
Monday, December 4th 2023
*** White Elephant Holiday Party - 6 pm ***
Please bring your favorite side dish to share and don't forget to bring a white elephant gift!
WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center
D.F. Allmendinger Center
Apiary Day Information
We will be hosting workshops instead of Apiary Days this Winter.
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. Contact Kathleen Clerc email@example.com with any questions.
WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center
D.F. Allmendinger Center
WINTER IS HERE
A timely section on a Beekeeper's cycle in the Pacific Northwest
by Kathleen Clerc
At this point, all of your hives should be locked up for winter with a quilt box, and supplemental food on top. Do not go into your hives through winter! Let them be! Projects you can still do include checking to make sure that you have stored your equipment correctly.
HOW TO SAFELY STORE EMPTY SUPERS & FRAMES IN WINTER
I learned over the past couple of winters, how important it is to store frames and boxes, properly. Mice, wax moths, and other pests want everything your hive equipment has to offer. It took me only 2 seconds, after shielding my eyes and heart as Mark Mietzer stomped on mice this Spring when we cleared out the club apiary - that it wasn't those pests fault. It was the fault of the keepers, and incorrect storage of equipment. There is much to be said on this topic. I personally have decided to use the "stack and seal" method this year in my Apiary and in the club's. Here are 4 methods for your consideration. Greg Willging has shared with us multiple times that he stores his frames with Paramoth, to stop wax moths from destroying all of the comb that his bees worked to hard to build. PARAMOTH IS THE ONLY MOTH PREVENTION THAT IS SAFE IN HIVES.
Air Tight - Doesn't take much space, can be indoor or outdoor, has a high rate of success, but is a bit expensive
Open Air - Takes a DIY-minded person to do, can cost a little bit to start up, but will last for years to come
Criss Cross Stacking - This is the least expensive method out there. Many beekeepers have had success with it, but is not guaranteed
Stacked and Sealed - Uses a chemical, however, has been proven to be a successful method over the decades. Very inexpensive to do.
How Cold is Too Cold for OAV?
Article and Photos by Frank Mortimer, Cornell University Master Beekeeper
Featured by Kathleen Clerc
Since more and more beekeepers are using oxalic acid to treat for mites, it’s important for PCBA members to understand the research behind the treatments so as to use it safely and effectively. I researched scientific, peer-reviewed journal articles to find out more about oxalic acid treatments for honey bees. This article is a synthesis by Frank Mortimer of Cornell University and does not contain any opinions.
As any good beekeeper knows, Varroa destructor is the number one threat to Apis Mellifera and is responsible for more deaths of honey bee colonies than any other contributing factor. According to Cornell University, since Varroa mites first entered the United States in 1987, they have become even more deadly to our colonies because the bees no longer can handle mite loads as high as they once could. Varroa is a carrier of multiple bee-killing viruses so it now takes fewer mites to devastate honey bee colonies, which is why monitoring mite levels and developing a yearly treatment calendar is essential to keeping honey bees alive. Oxalic acid (OA) as a treatment for Varroa is still relatively new in the United States, with the EPA having approved it in March of 2015. As more beekeepers start using OA, more questions arise regarding how to use it effectively as a mite treatment. Since OA is best used when a colony is broodless, one of the most frequently asked questions is in regard to outside temperature. When is it too cold to treat? At what temperatures is OA still effective? Because oxalic acid has been used to combat Varroa mites in Europe for decades, the author reviewed scientific studies and found that a lot of research has been done in European countries where OA has been used for many years. Some of that research specifically mentions temperature in regard to treatments. All the information that I’ve included comes from reviewed journal articles, meaning that the scientific community has deemed that the science behind these studies is accurate and valid. In the first study, Rademacher and Harz (1) provide data supporting that OA can be sublimated (vaporized) when outside temperatures are greater than 2° Celsius (35° Fahrenheit). The article also states that the dribble method of delivering OA requires an outside temperature that is greater than 3° C (37.4° F). Their research is a reminder that people in other countries think about temperature differently than we in WA might. What’s cold in Sweden is certainly different than what’s cold in Egypt, yet Apis m. is native to both regions and can therefore tolerate both versions of what is considered cold. While it might be hard to imagine dribbling any liquid onto bees when the outside temperature is only 37.4° F, it’s important not to anthropomorphize the honey bees, remembering instead that they are insects and temperature affects them differently than it does humans. In the second study conducted by Rosenkranz, Aumeier, & Ziegelmann (2), data concluded that OA applied by trickling, spraying, fumigating, or as pure crystals (e.g. vaporized with heat) has an efficacy greater than 90% when colonies are broodless, and less than 60% when there is brood present. More importantly, it answers our question by stating that “efficacy is independent from temperature.” In other words, temperature has no impact on how effective OA is at killing mites. It works no matter what the outside temperature is. The third study by Charriére & Imdorf (3) simply recommends that beekeepers “carry out treatment at an outdoor temperature of above 0°C (32° Fahrenheit).” The last study by Radetzki & Bärmann (4) appeared on the Swedish beekeeping site, “Alltom Biodling.” What I found especially interesting about this study is that it shows the impact that the outside temperature has on the OA treatment’s effectiveness. Most importantly, the effectiveness didn’t drop off until they treated at -2°C to 0°C (28.4°F to 32°F). Since most people reading this article are not fluent in Swedish, below is a table from the study where the author added the English words for clarity.
In Conclusion, How Cold is Too Cold for Oxalic Acid?
Based on a review of the scientific literature, treating with OA in any temperature above freezing — 0° Celsius, 32° Fahrenheit — will be an effective Varroa treatment if beekeepers use sublimation (vaporization). The dribble method is also effective but only at a slightly higher temperature of 37.4°. The research also supports that OA is most effective when a hive is broodless, which coincides with temperatures in NJ generally dipping down into the low thirties. Therefore, to ensure its maximum effectiveness, beekeepers should schedule oxalic acid treatments during the winter months when brood levels are at their lowest point, knowing that they need not be as concerned about the outside temperatures as much as with keeping their bees healthy via low mite counts.
Recipes for Thanksgiving!
by Kathleen Clerc
If you are like me, I'm always eager to find ways to share my joy of beekeeping with my family. I find it delightful to substitute my honey into all the baked goods I possibly can during the holidays! I wanted to share my conversion chart and some delicious recipes that will leave your family and friends asking for more!
Almost to the Finish Line for this Bee Season
By now, your bees should be put to bed for the next "season" or close to it. Hive weight should be good and resources added for that "just in case". If you insulate, that would be the next thing you do if you already haven't. Make sure your lids are strapped down or weighted down with bricks. Tops fly off during our windy storms. There is nothing more disheartening than to check your girls only to find the cover off (ask me how I know). Some are still doing the last of the OAV treatments for the year. It's time to start cleaning up and organizing your equipment not in use. You can store your boxes in a closed stack. A closed stack has a board on the bottom of the stack and another across the top to keep any insects, rats, etc out. Then add Para-moth crystals to the inside of the stack. You will need to plan to let the supers air out before placing them on a hive in the spring. Clean or wash your beekeeping suit. Clean all of your hive tools and your smoker. Check out Kathleen's article from last month's newsletter as your check off list of things to do. Then take a breath and enjoy because January is coming.
You overwintered or got your bees 6 months ago. You inspected, fed, added resources, added queens, inspected some more. You did alcohol washes or powdered sugar shakes for mites...or both. You watched the temperatures to know when to use formic pro, apiguard and did OA treatments. You caught swarms, did splits and managed brood breaks. You added more space, readjusted the space and finally reduced the space. You even got to harvest a bit of honey. You felt excitement, frustration, dumb and then smart and then dumb again. You read blogs and books and spent way too much time on Facebook and YouTube watching beekeeping videos. Be proud of what you have accomplished and don't get discouraged if your bees didn't make it. It happens to the most experienced of us. Now, at the end of this season, I hope you took a minute or 20 to just sit and watch your bees, feel the joy that they bring and contemplate why you are a beekeeper because, your girls is what it is all about.
Honey House Rental
Bring your boxes and buckets!
The Honey House is available for rent.
Reserve your time on the website.
We also have an extractor that is available for rent that you can take home for 72 hours.
You must be a member to use the Honey House
After all, I am a Beekeeper
by Tina Tyler
I can laugh about it now, but that summer eve at dusk was horrifying! The hive I had worked on earlier that day looked great; it was big and busy. Just before bedtime I decided to make quick adjustment with a popsicle stick between two hive bodies, for good summer ventilation. Upon separating the hive bodies, the
hive stand lost it’s balance and flowed with the tilt. To my horror, the entire beehive toppled onto the ground. Bees were flaring out.
Ok, stay calm, after all, I am a beekeeper. I put on my suit, lit the smoker. Now it is dark. It was so so heavy! I leaned it into my abdomen to help with the weight. That made my clothes slide up. That is how the bees got under my clothes. They were stinging me. Worse, I couldn’t see anything or where they were; I was just feeling the pain. I ran away, leaving frames fanned out on the lawn from the other hive body. I am
no longer calm. That is over. I still can’t see where they are in order to get them off me. I tear through the house but then worry my pets will get stung, so I run to the garage to strip. Ok, good, but now they were following me! I raced out to the front yard, entourage right with me. Even though it was past 9 pm, I decided to call up Mark Meitzer. He was trying not to laugh. However, he was full of good advice. He told
me to turn of the lights, which quickly ended the chasing. He said to take benedryl, which turned out to be a great idea. I have never been so stung!
The plan was to get up at dawn, light the smoker and reassemble the hive. Yes, they were flaring and hitting me when I would lift one frame to slowly, carefully replace it, but after all, I am a beekeeper. I would just slowly walk off until they relented some, and repeat with the next frame. Another time, when working on a hive, I placed a very heavy deep brood hive body on an upside down plastic planter pot that I had always used. Yes, it slid off as the plastic decided it just was not going to take any more. It spilled the frames.
I worried my queen was dumped and would be lost. I forced myself to lift (at an angle, backache promised) the big brood box back up. Luckily, these frames did not fan and then fall out all the way.
Anyway, nowadays I don’t fool around with unstable hive stands or work tables!
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