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If you are preparing to take the plunge and become a beekeeper but just have some doubts, please take a moment to view this presentation. Created by one of our club members, Evan Davies, it may help you make the decision, is beekeeping something I am able to do?

This presentation is usually presented by CBA at numerous locations December through February. Check out the Latest News and the Upcoming Events to find a location near you.

Come on out and see what the "buzz" is all about!

Right Click and select "Save Target As" to download this presentation.

Often new beekeepers are looking for a reference manual or text to become familiar with all the aspects of beekeeping. There are many out there but this one from the University of Pennsylvania is FREE:

 

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Free On-line pdf version is downloaded with this link.

Mentor Program
Any new beekeeper will benefit from having a mentor. The Colonial Beekeepers has a Mentor Program that attempts to pair up new beekeepers with club members that are local to them. If you are a club member and would like to participate in this program please contact Ron Davis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 757-865-7641. Follow this link to read more about the Mentor Program.

What about the Beehive Grant Fund?
To read the guidelines and requirements for qualification under the Beehive Grant Program follow this link.

Equipment Needed To Get Started
Hi, I'm Pete Ostrowski, former president of Colonial Beekeepers Association and here is a list of items that I would presently recommend to get started in beekeeping. Many suppliers provide Beginning Beekeeping Kits but as it often is with kits you get some stuff you'll not need or could be replaced by better. Remember, ask 7 beekeepers a question and get 7 different answers. These choices are my opinion only. Researching these items between different suppliers or kits may reduce costs. I've updated this list in fall 2012 using Mann Lake as a supplier as they have FREE shipping for orders of over $100. You can download this info on a spreadsheet by clicking here. This spreadsheet has been updated in Fall 2015 with information and comparitive pricing from 3 suppliers: Mann Lake, Hampton Apiaries and Dadant. Also note that some of the pictures below are from suppliers other than Mann Lake but the products will be similar. Mann Lake just didn’t have good pictures to copy….

Another great option is contacting our local Beekeeping Equipment Supplier, Andy Westrich. Andy is a distributor for BeeLine Apiaries, Maxant and most recently Dadant. You can find his contact info here.

There are some assumptions that I’ll be making while compiling this list:

I am going to list products making the assumption that two hives are going to be started. It is a recommended practice to start with two so that comparisons will indicate to the new beekeeper if problems are present.

I am going to assume that the new beekeeper has elected to go with all medium supers for building the hive so all equipment is interchangeable.

I am going to assume that the new beekeeper has elected to go with 10 frame equipment.

I am going to assume that the new beekeeper wants to practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with the new colonies.

OK, let’s get ready to hive some bees:

1. An Instruction Manual - you'll want to have a reference manual and this one is basic and has much good information.
BM-150 Starting Right With Bees $9.95

Starting Right With Bees

2. Telescoping covers and inner covers - the roof and ceiling of the hive.
WW-301 10 Frame Telescoping Cover With Inner Cover 1 - 4 $27.95 X 2 = $55.90

Telescoping covers and inner covers

3. Screened Bottom Board(IPM) - the floor of the hive.
WW-685 10 Frame Varroa Trap With Drawer 1-4 EACH $26.95 x 2 = $53.90

Screened Bottom Board

4. Entrance Reducer - reduces the size of the front door until the bees are established and able to defend their colony with a full size entrance.
WW-355 10 Frame Entrance Reducer $1.50 x 2 = $3.00

Entrance Reducer

5. Medium Supers (10 each) - the walls of the hive. (These can be bought in two separate buys to reduce initial costs and shipping as the colony will take time to use all ten of these supers.)
WW-605_b 6 5/8" (16.83 cm) Unassembled 10 Frame Hive Body Commercial Grade Supers - Bulk $11.50 x 10 = $115.00

Medium Supers

6. Medium Frames (100 each) - these are like rooms within the hive. They will hold the comb. 10 frames are required for each super.
FR-912 6 1/4" (15.88 cm) Unassembled Select Frames - Wedged Top & Groove Bottom - Case of 100 $79.00

Medium Frames

7. Small Cell Foundation (IPM) - This provides the template for the bees to build comb. One sheet per frame is normally used. (These also can be bought in two separate buys as mentioned above to reduce initial costs and shipping as the colony will take time to use all this foundation.)
FN-230 5 5/8" x 16 3/4" (14.29 cm x 42.55 cm) Small Cell Wired With Hooks $10.95 x 10 = $109.50

Small Cell Foundation

8. Feeder - it will be necessary to feed sugar water to a new colony to assist it in establishing itself. There are many feeder styles but for starting out I’d suggest just using a quart jar with a feeder lid on top of the inner cover. Another option might be a hive top feeder like this.
FD-110 10 Frame Top Feeder w/ Super $19.95 x 2 = $39.90

9. Smoker - it is a good practice to use smoke when you inspect your bees. It calms and disorientates them so they are easier to work. You can buy fuel but grass clipping, pine straw and other items work well and are free.
HD-555 4" x 7" (10.16 cm x 17.8 cm) Smoker With Guard $34.95

Smoker

10. Hive Tool - will not be necessary in the beginning but as the bees establish the hive and propolize, the tool assists in separating the components. I recommend the hook-end type tool.
HD-620 10 1/2" Frame Lifter and Scraper $9.95

Hive Tool

11. Protective Clothing - a veil is the minimum protection required (you don’t want to get stung in the eye!) regardless of what you’ve seen or heard. I like this jacket veil combination and suggest some bib type overalls to wear along with it. For more protection a coverall is the way to go! (fit should be loose, nothing skin tight in the bee yard!)
CV-420 Economy Hooded Jacket $52.95

Hooded Jacket
CV-315 Economy Hooded Suit X Large $74.50

Coverall

12. Gloves - many suggest starting without gloves or transition to going without gloves but regardless you’ll want a pair to have in your kit. I suggest the non-ventilated type as there is not much ventilation and you can get stung through the screen. Another way to go is with a yellow dishwashing glove or nitrile gloves.
CL-158 Large Meyer Gloves $21.95

Deluxe Gloves

13. Additional Nice To Have Items:
HD-650 Frame Perch $19.95

Frame Perch

HD-630 Standard Frame Grip $16.95

Frame Grip

HD-660 Bee Brush $4.95

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SUMMARY
Note that these are 2012 prices

  • $9.95 Manual
  • $55.90 Inner & Telescoping Covers
  • $53.90 Screened Bottom Boards
  • $3.00 Entrance Reducers
  • $115.00 Medium Supers
  • $79.00 Medium Frames
  • $109.50 Small Cell Foundation
  • $39.90 Hive Top Feeders
  • $34.95 Smoker
  • $9.95 Hive Tool
  • $52.95 Jacket & Veil Combo
  • $21.95 Gloves
  • $578.60 TOTAL less items #13
  • $19.95 Frame Perch
  • $8.95 Frame Grip
  • $4.95 Bee Brush
  • $612.45 TOTAL for all items
  • Shipping costs are not included as Mann Lake has FREE shipping.

 

 

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October Meetings
and Events

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October 17th
Monthly Meeting

 

October 21st
Getting Started in Beekeeping
Gloucester Library
10:00 am - 12:30 pm
Yorktown Library
2:00 pm - 4:45 pm

 

October 22nd
Getting Started in Beekeeping
Newport News Library
2:00 pm - 4:45 pm

 

October 28th
Getting Started in Beekeeping
Poquoson Library
2:00 pm - 4:45 pm

 

 

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November Meetings
and Events

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November 2nd
Basic Beekeeping Class - Day 1

 

November 4th
VSBA Fall Meeting

 

November 9th
Basic Beekeeping Class - Day 2

 

November 16th
Basic Beekeeping Class - Day 3

 

November 21st
Annual Holiday Dinner

 

 

Follow the "Upcoming Events" or "Latest News" link under the Main Menu for more information.

 

 

 

NewBees Corner

 

Information listed here is for the new beekeepers looking for new information and guidance on beekeeping and beekeeping chores:

 

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So you were able to harvest some honey but now what do you do with those frames? There are three things that can be done. 1-you could just leave the frames as they are and store them in a freezer or refrigerator. Not very practical for most folks and storing them wet in the garage or house is an invitation to disaster, don't do it! 2-you can let the bees dry them out outside of the hive. This works very well but you must take precautions to prevent a robbing frenzy in your apiary. Put the frames some distance from the hives, the farther the better, and additionally have some objects between, like trees or a building. This also pertains to letting the bees clean up your extracting equipment. There will be some damage to the comb but nothing too drastic. 3-lastly you can put the frames back into the hive they were harvested from or on another colony that may need the stores. If you just want the bees to dry the frames and move the residual honey down into the colony you can place the frames in a super above the inner cover. To keep the bees from moving up add a spacer or an empty super between the inner cover and the frames. Adding the frames back into or on top of a colony may also create a robbing situation if there are any gaps, cracks or openings. Take precautions!

Once dry these frames are a valuable resource and you HAVE to protect them until freezing weather arrives and wax moth activity ceases for the year. There are some choices that can be made here as well. Hanging under a eave allowing plenty of air and light can usually prevent wax moth damage if the combs never held brood or pollen. Follow this link to see some examples. Another way is to protect your frames with Para Dichlorobenzene, Moth crystals. Supers are stacked and sealed with a spacer at the top. Place the moth crystals on a paper plate on top in the space as the fumes will go down. Follow this link to read an article about wax moths and their control. Lastly combs can be protected with a natural microbial bacteria Bacillus thuringenisis (Certan®). It was once available for sale by bee supply companies but is no longer manufactured in the US but is available from Canada. Some beeks use alternative products that contain the same bacteria but are sold under a different name for the similar purpose of larva control. Here is a lnk to a video about the use of Certan.

Have you done your check for varroa mites? Now is a great time to do a sugar roll or alcohol wash to determine the percentage of mites within your colonies. Doesn't matter if you treat or not but to know your colonies health, it is important to monitor the varroa mite infestation level. Follow this link to learn how to do a sugar roll or this link to learn how to do an alcohol wash. Once you have your numbers then you can follow this link to determine a course of action. Just looking at your bees is not enough to know how they are coping with varroa. I just recently, with the help of a club member, did an alcohol wash on a colony that appeared to be in good shape. Weren't we both surprised when there were so many mites we had to dump them out on a rag to make an accurate count. 158 mites in 1/2 cup (300) of bees! Do I have a colony that is surviving with varroa or a colony that is on the brink of collapse? Without monitoring I wouldn't know why they perished or the importance of breeding this queen.

 

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The summer dirth has started and foraging bees are all looking for stores to bring back to their home hive. Don't let your hive become a source of stores for a neighboring colony! Use a robbing screen if you have a small colony or are feeding to grow your colony. Products like Honey B Healthy or added essential oils can drive foraging bees wild. They want that stuff! Know that a honey bee colony's worst enemy is a stronger honey bee colony, fact.

For information on Robbing Screens check out these links:
1. Robbing Screen article on the CBA website
2. Images for different varieties of robbing screens
A few video links on making robbing screens. (Something to remember is if you use an entrance reducer the width doesn't need to exactly match the bottom board, example: an 8 frame robbing screen will work on a ten frame hive with an entrance reducer!).
1. Northwest New Jersey Beekeepers(NWNJBA)
2. Country Rubes Beekeeping Supplies
3. Another Country Rubes Video
A Google search brings up plenty more videos!
Robbing Screen Videos

 

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Well the chances for colder weather are finnally behind us and the bees are busy. There are many things in bloom now and more to come. With all these resources the bees are ready to reproduce, SWARM! I've been doing my best to quell that desire by opening the brood nest and practicing nectar management but in some cases it just isn't enough. So if I see evidence of swarming: queen cups with eggs or larva visible or even capped queen cells. What do you do?

Here are some links for you to follow that give some practical advise. First is Michael Bush on why seeing queen cells isn't so bad and what to do and not to do. The second is a 22 page read that does a great job of explaining what could be going on in your hive. The pages that mimic Michael's answer are 13 & 14. There Are Queen Cells In My Hive-What Should I Do?. Lastly, here's a link to how you might transplant them to a queenless colony or make a nuc. Fat Beeman doesn't wear a veil, you should! Fat Beeman never says "it is my opinion" so take heed!  Queen Cell Transplant

The hive manipulations to consider as the nectar flow is on are "Opening the Broodnest" and "Nectar Management 101". If opening/expanding the brood nest I would caution to start slowly as you become familiar with the technique and get more aggressive later in April and May. Here we go!

Finally, so you have your new nuc or package bees, how do you grow them? Here's a link to a presentation of how to grow your bees into 3 boxes:Growing Nucs

 

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